As the Philippines celebrates its 125th Independence Day, environmental health and justice advocacy group EcoWaste Coalition has emphasized the crucial need to address the issue of waste colonization and assert the nation’s freedom from it. The organization calls for swift action in ratifying the Basel Convention Ban Amendment, an international law that prohibits the export of hazardous wastes from developed to developing countries, and implementing a national ban on waste imports.
Highlighting the inadequacy of current laws, EcoWaste Coalition stresses the urgent requirement for stronger measures to protect the Philippines against waste traders and traffickers who exploit developing nations for “recycling” and waste disposal purposes. Hazardous waste and other wastes, including electronic and plastic wastes, all of which could be more effectively managed in rich countries exporting them, pose significant environmental and health risks to low and middle income countries.
Recent waste controversies that have incited public outrage, including the entry of “plastic scraps” from Canada, “plastic synthetic flakes” from South Korea, “assorted electronic accessories” from Hong Kong, and “municipal wastes/process engineered fuel (PEF)” from Australia, serve as evidence of the pressing need to revise the national policy on foreign waste imports.
By seizing the occasion of Independence Day, EcoWaste Coalition hopes to send a resolute and unequivocal message that the Philippines will no longer accept hazardous waste and other trash from other countries. The organization urges the government to take decisive steps towards ratifying the Basel Convention Ban Amendment, reinforcing the nation’s commitment to environmental sustainability and safeguarding the health and well-being of its citizens.
Independence Day serves as a timely reminder that the struggle for freedom extends beyond the political and social realms. It encompasses areas that impact the environment and future generations. By breaking free from waste colonization, the Philippines can assert its sovereignty and pave the way for environmental justice and for a zero waste and toxics-free future.