2,400 tons of South Korea trash shipped back

Rhodina Villanueva - The Philippine Star
2,400 tons of South Korea trash shipped back
The cargo left the MICT port yesterday morning on board MV Nordmarsh, environmental watchdog Eco-Waste Coalition said, quoting the Bureau of Customs-Northern Mindanao regional office.
Edd Gumban

MANILA, Philippines — A shipping container with 2,400 metric tons of garbage from South Korea that arrived at the Mindanao International Container Terminal (MICT) in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental in 2018 has been shipped back.

The cargo left the MICT port yesterday morning on board MV Nordmarsh, environmental watchdog Eco-Waste Coalition said, quoting the Bureau of Customs (BOC)-Northern Mindanao regional office.

Aileen Lucero, EcoWaste national coordinator, said the remaining 2,700 tons of waste from South Korea are expected to be shipped back on Feb. 9. The shipment was repacked and transferred from a Phividec Industrial Estate facility to the MICT stockyard.

“BOC-Region 10 port collector John Simon reported that South Korea shouldered the shipping cost amounting to P10 million in keeping with the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal of which both the Philippines and South Korea are parties,” Lucero said.

Article 9 of the Basel Convention states that “in case of a transboundary movement of hazardous wastes or other wastes deemed to be illegal traffic as the result of conduct on the part of the exporter or generator, the state of export shall ensure that the wastes in question are taken back by the exporter or the generator or if necessary... into the state of export.”

“Kudos to our vigilant Customs, environmental and local government officials in Misamis Oriental and to the Filipino people for remaining steadfast in our... duty to protect the country from the illegal traffic of hazardous wastes and other wastes,” Lucero said.

“We hope the next re-exportation schedule for the remaining 2,700 tons of unlawful waste shipment would be the last, and that both South Korea and the Philippines would take bold and resolute steps to prevent the recurrence of illegal and immoral waste trafficking,” she added.

EcoWaste participated in various stakeholders’ meetings attended by representatives of the South Korean government to resolve the issue.

“We urge the governments of South Korea and the Philippines to strengthen their commitments as parties to the Basel Convention by ratifying the Basel Ban Amendment,” Lucero added.

The treaty, which entered into force last Dec. 5, prohibits member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, European Union and Liechtenstein from exporting hazardous wastes to developing countries.

The shipments of assorted plastic waste, which were misdeclared as synthetic plastic flakes, arrived in the Philippines on July 21 and Oct. 20 in 2018.

The BOC said the remaining shipment was supposed to be returned to South Korea last June 30.

At least 1,500 metric tons of garbage, also from South Korea, were shipped back to its point of origin in January last year.

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