MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Days after 69 containers of waste were shipped back to Canada, the Philippines also managed to return a misdeclared container carrying electronic waste to Hong Kong.
Environment groups and government officials on Monday, June 3, witnessed the departure of the shipment that carried over 25 tons of plastic and electronic waste.
“The imported garbage was shipped back to its point of origin onboard the cargo ship SITC Nagoya, which departed the MCT subport Monday, June 3,” Northern Mindanao Port Collector John Simon said.
“It’s simple. They want to make us their dumping ground. But they did not prevail. This is a victory for the Filipinos,” Simon added.
EcoWaste Coalition National Coordinator Aileen Lucero said that the quick reexport of the illegal waste sends a “clear and unambiguous warning to waste traffickers to stop sending other countries’ wastes into our ports.”
Another 70 containers were supposed to be shipped but they were rerouted when Northern Mindanao’s Bureau of Customs issued an alert order on February 18, followed by a warrant of seizure and detention for misdeclaration in March.
The shipment was exported by Hin Yuen Tech. Env. Limited, and was consigned to Crowd Win Industrial Limited Corporation. Authorities also said that a certain Yolanda Mondragon Narandan acted as the broker for the shipment.
Simon said that Hong Kong sneakily bringing in garbage is illegal under the laws of both Hong Kong and the Philippines. Both countries are also signatories to the Basel Convention which imposes strict transboundary shipment regulations on hazardous waste.
Aside from the call to abide by the Basel Ban Amendment, environment groups on Monday also urged the government to impose a comprehensive ban on waste imports. The Philippines currently allows the importation of recyclable waste.
“The strong presence of local civil society groups in this important event indicates a growing concern among Mindanaoans against the use of the region’s ports as entry points for waste imports from overseas,” Lucero said.
“We encourage them, the local authorities, and the general public to keep a close watch over illegal waste traffic in the region.”
The Hong Kong container is just one of 3 batches of misdeclared cargo carrying waste that arrived in Mindanao since 2018.
South Korea first shipped 51 containers of garbage to the MCT in Misamis Oriental in 2018. In May, 7 containers from Australia carrying municipal waste but declared as “processed engineered fuel” also arrived in Mindanao. – with reports from Bobby Lagsa/Rappler.com