Garbage from South Korea to be sent back

Rappler.com
(UPDATED) January 9 is the target date for the return of the trash shipment to Pyeongtaek City in South Korea, says a Customs official

GARBAGE ISSUES. A port in Mindanao is expected to be rid of garbage shipments from South Korea in the first month of 2019. Photo from Shutterstock

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Around 6,500 tons of waste will be sent back to Pyeongtaek City in South Korea, a Bureau of Customs (BOC) official said on Wednesday, January 2. (READ: Garbage from Korea more manageable than Canada case – DENR)

John Simon, Port Collector at the Mindanao International Container Terminal (MICT), announced this in a joint news conference of the BOC and the EcoWaste Coalition on Wednesday.

Simon said the plan was to send the garbage back to its source on January 9.

“We expect the 51 garbage-filled containers stored at MICT to be homebound by January 9 provided that all regulatory requirements are readily available. Their expedited re-export is what BOC wants and this is what our people are yearning for,” he said.

Aileen Lucero, EcoWaste Coalition National Coordinator, called for “the adoption of stringent policies to prevent their recurrence, including a crackdown on the importation of plastic waste.”

“We need to act decisively to protect our country from turning into a global dump for plastics and other wastes that China no longer wants,” Lucero added.

Simon said the 51 containers of garbage will be sent back to South Korea because the consignee, Verde Soko Philippines Industrial Corporation, failed to secure an import permit from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The company also misdeclared the garbage shipments as “plastic synthetic flakes.”

Two misdeclared shipments consigned by Verde Soko arrived in the Philippines in 2018 in July and in October. (READ: South Korea to take back trash ‘as soon as possible’)

The re-exportation will cost around $47,430 (P2,493,869.40).

Simon said arrangements were being made to ensure that the rest of the garbage at the Verde Soko compound in Barangay Santa Cruz in Tagoloan would be re-exported this month.

The re-exportation order is pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act,  Republic Act 6969  or the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act, and the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal.

The decision was made less than a week after a bilateral meeting between Philippine and South Korean officials on December 27 and 28, 2018 in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.

The meeting had over 35 participants, including a 4-person delegation from South Korea led by Lee Jong Min of South Korea’s Ministry of Environment.

Environment groups had protested the presence of the garbage in Philippine ports, especially after its experience with the garbage from Canada  illegally shipped to the country in 2013.

Environment officials had earlier assured the public that the South Korean garbage issue was more manageable than the Canada trash, as the latter was brought into the country with the necessary permits and thus difficult to send back.

Senator Aquilino Pimentel III denounced the dumping of foreign trash in Philippine soil, saying it is an “affront to the country’s dignity.”

Pimentel said he would seek an update on the waste materials from Canada.

“As far as I’m aware, as of January 2018, the matter has yet to be resolved. The Canadian Prime Minister promised to resolve the matter when he went here for the 31st ASEAN Summit in November 2017. There’s been no follow through ever since. We need immediate and concrete action on this,” Pimentel said. – Rappler.com