“We strongly deplore the incident that only aggravated the pollution brought by the dumping of illegal mixed plastic waste shipment from South Korea in a government land in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental,” Aileen Lucero, EcoWaste national coordinator, said.
KJ Rosales/File
Probe sought as SoKor trash shipment catches fire
Robertzon Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - August 15, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Environmental watchdog EcoWaste Coalition has joined calls for a thorough investigation into a fire that destroyed part of the remaining 5,177 tons of assorted plastic waste from South Korea on Monday.

 “We strongly deplore the incident that only aggravated the pollution brought by the dumping of illegal mixed plastic waste shipment from South Korea in a government land in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental,” Aileen Lucero, EcoWaste national coordinator, said.

“We urge concerned law enforcement agencies to leave no stone unturned... to bring the culprits to justice,” Lucero added.

Misamis second district Rep. Juliette Uy sought an “immediate arson investigation” into the incident.  

Uy said the fire could be considered “destructive arson” as it occurred in an industrial estate owned by the government.

Spontaneous combustion

Tagoloan fire station chief Inspector Randy Obsiom said the fire at the Verde Soko Philippines Industrial Corp. yard in Sitio Buguac, Barangay Sta. Cruz, where the trash shipment was stored, could be due to spontaneous combustion.

Fire probers cited the presence of methane gas in the garbage shipment.

Obsioma said the fire affected a quarter of the area where the garbage was stored.

He blamed the management of Verde Soko for negligence, citing lapses in handling the garbage shipment.

John Simon, Bureau of Customs (BOC)-Northern Mindanao Container Terminal sub-port collector said the incident stressed the need for the South Korean government to bring back the garbage to its country. 

“The Korean ministry of environment is very slow… Because of the threat to health and environment, it is high time to put pressure on the Korean government to fasttrack the... repatriation of the garbage,” Simon said. 

In a letter to EcoWaste dated Aug. 6, the South Korean embassy said it is just waiting for the discussions with the BOC on the repatriation of the garbage.

“It seems that the waste is expected to be returned to Korea in September 2019,” the embassy said. – Rhodina Villanueva, Gerry Lee Gorit

GARBAGE SOUTH KOREA
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