Send back South Korea garbage

November 10, 2018
Trash - Container van

FEARING a repeat of the still unresolved Canadian garbage dumping scandal, a national environmental health and justice group has called on authorities to reject illegal trash imports and return them to their origin at once.

The EcoWaste Coalition denounced the entry of misdeclared plastic garbage from South Korea, a highly developed economy to a country like the Philippines which is struggling to address its own garbage woes.

According to EWC national coordinator Aileen Lucero, the latest incident of plastic waste dumping reported in Bandila of ABS-CBN is outrageous and unacceptable  

“Why do we keep on accepting garbage from other countries when we know that our country’s plastic waste, which is literally everywhere, is spilling to the oceans and endangering marine life?” Lucero asked.

The EWC added, “we also find it ironic that while South Korea is taking action to control its plastic waste, including banning plastic bags in supermarkets starting October this year, and yet its unwanted plastics are being sent abroad.”

With the Canadian garbage misrepresented as recyclable plastic scraps still in the country, Lucero said that it’s high time for the Philippines to disallow garbage imports and to demand that developed countries, as well as manufacturers of plastics and other disposable goods, take full responsibility for their products throughout their whole life cycle.

As per “request of alert order” issued on October 25, 2018 by  Joel Pinawin, Supervisor, Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service, Bureau of Customs (BoC) - Cagayan De Oro City, the baled garbage misdeclared as “plastic synthetic flakes” arrived from South Korea on board MV Affluent Ocean on July 21, 2018.  

The shipment was said to be consigned to Verde Soko Phil. Industrial Corp. and the “violation committed” was in relation to Section 1400 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act on “Misdeclaration, Misclassification, Undervaluation in Goods Declaration,” one of the crimes punishable under the law.

This prompted the EWC to renew the call it made in 2017 for the government to ban plastic waste imports and for domestic industries requiring plastic scrap inputs to source their supplies locally.

“Barring the importation of plastic garbage should form part of the government’s efforts to improve existing regulations to avoid a repeat of the Canadian garbage saga,” the group said.