Trash returned to sender

January 13, 2019

THE 51 containers filled with illegal garbage exports from South Korea dumped in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental were finally returned yesterday to their country of origin.

This was announced by EcoWaste Coalition national coordinator Aileen Lucero who together with 14 members of the group attended the send-off rites at the Mindanao International Container Terminal (MICT).

The group lauded the departure of the South Korea’s mixed plastic waste cargoes, wrongly declared as “plastic synthetic flakes,” saying that the move is a “triumph for environmental justice, morality and the rule of law.”

“The waste shipments violated Korean and Philippine customs and environmental laws, as well as the Basel Convention,” and “sending the garbage back to its origin is only just, moral and lawful,” Lucero stressed.

Based on the investigation report of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB)-Region 10 of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the misdeclared garbage was in  violation of DENR DAO 2013-22.

The said regulation, which implements the provisions of Republic Act 6969 (Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act), states that “no importation of heterogenous and unsorted plastic materials shall be allowed.”  

EMB inspectors, according to the report, found assorted plastics such as bottles, straws, gloves, shower hose, utensils, toothbrushes, Styrofoams, wrappers and cellophane, as well as textiles, wood, metal rods, vinyl tiles, broken glasses, paper boxes, spray cans, shoes, slippers, gloves, diapers, etc.

Also found in the shipments were waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE),  popularly known as e-waste, including printers, keyboards, electric fans, cables, cellphone batteries and chargers, dry cell batteries, and LED lamps.

During the send-off rites, Lucero’s group and various civil society groups from Davao City demanded a stop to exporting garbage to the Philippines.

“Our resolute stance to get the garbage returned to its sender shows how much we, the Filipino people, want our fragile ecosystems to be protected against the adverse effects of waste trafficking, which is a serious threat to our people’s lives, their health and  the environment,” Lucero said.