Korean example

November 23, 2018

We’ve got to hand it to our South-Korean friends.

They have ample reserves of political correctness, cultural sensitivity, and diplomatic savvy.

Count in also our long, deep, and strong historical ties since the Korean War during which we sent Filipino troops to defend the country from its invading northern counterpart.

Koreans never forgot that life-saving gesture for which even the current generation of Koreans still acknowledge and are grateful for.

We can only hope Canada would follow suit.

And so we note with much relief the positive action promptly taken by Seoul on the matter of the toxic garbage shipment.

The environmental group EcoWaste Coalition believes Canada must follow South Korea's gesture of taking back right away its misdeclared plastic waste shipped to the Philippines five years ago.

EcoWaste adviser Manny Calonzo said South Korea's assurance about taking steps to have the illegal cargo returned must be a reminder for Canada to already take back its hazardous waste, which has been in the Philippines since 2013.

"It's high time for Canada to follow suit and take back its waste without further delay," Calonzo said in an interview on Thursday.

Earlier, the Environmental Management Bureau said the cargo from Canada consisted of imported scrap metals mixed with used diapers and other waste.

EcoWaste branded the cargo from South Korea as misdeclared plastic waste.

According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), South Korea's 5,100-ton cargo declared as plastic synthetic flakes was not covered by the DENR's importation clearance.

Neither is the South Korean company nor the cargo's consignee, Verde Soko II Industrial Corp., was registered as an importer of recyclable materials, the DENR stated.

Citing a press release on the website of South Korea's embassy in the Philippines on Wednesday, EcoWaste said South Korea has assured to take back its cargo.

"Relevant authorities of Korea will have the wastes in question be repatriated and properly disposed of and work to prevent recurrence of the problem," the Korean press release said.

South Korea's Ministry of Environment initiated on Nov. 21 legal proceedings to have the waste brought back "in accordance with Article 20 of the Law on Cross-border movement and Disposal of Wastes - Prior Notice of Repatriation Order - and embarked on investigation of the violation of Article 18-2 of the said law - False Export Declaration," the press release said further.

EcoWaste is hoping South Korea's action on the matter will lead to strengthening of regulatory controls that would prevent garbage from being dumped in the Philippines again.