Philippines no dumping ground, Greenpeace stresses as new trash shipment blocked

Philippines no dumping ground, Greenpeace stresses as new trash shipment blocked
This file photo shows plastic garbage.

MANILA, Philippines — The reported dumping of garbage from Australia is “unacceptable and deplorable,” Greenpeace Philippines said as it stressed the country is not a dumping ground for foreign trash.

GMA News reported that seven container vans of shredded municipal waste were intercepted in Tagaloan, Misamis Oriental. The shipment’s broker was the same company that handled the importation of 51 misdeclared and garbage-filled containers from South Korea.

Abigail Aguilar, Greenpeace Philippines campaigner, said foreign waste has no place in the country.

“Why do we need to repeatedly remind the world that WE ARE NOT A GARBAGE DUMP? Illegal waste dumping to developing countries should be stopped at all costs. We refuse to be treated as rich countries’ trash dumps,” Aguilar said, noting the country is still reeling from the Canadian waste issue.

Palace: Government offended by dumping

In a press briefing Thursday, Malacañang said the government is “offended” by the reported dumping of garbage from Australia.

“It will be offensive to this government to be a recipient of trash. We are offended by that. We will not allow it. We’ll send them back,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.

Panelo, in the same press briefing, rejected Canada’s latest move of hiring a private company to repatriate the 69 containers of waste illegally dumped to the country years ago.

He said President Rodrigo Duterte will not allow the process to extend until next month.

READPhilippines insists on sending back trash to Canada first

Waste as alternative fuel

The same GMA News report noted the consignee of the shipments from Australia—declared as processed engineered fuel—is Holcim Philippines. The company reportedly said the PEF made from processed trash is an alternative fuel for its cement production.

Aguilar, however, said that Holcim’s statement “should be further scrutinized.”

“The use of waste-to-energy is illegal in the Philippines under the Clean Air Act and the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act,” she said.

The Greenpeace campaigner said: “Waste-to-energy technologies harm our people and our environment and further contribute to the destruction of our climate. These types of technology have no place in a country that struggles from the effects of the climate crisis.” — Gaea Katreena Cabico 

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