The South Korean government has started legal proceedings for the return of about 5,100 tons of waste that were dumped in Misamis Oriental.
The move came after the Korean government learned that the company responsible for the garbage shipment made a false declaration when it exported the containers to the Philippines.
In a statement, Kim Sunyoung, Minister Counselor of the Korean Embassy in Manila, said Korean authorities discovered “alien materials” that were not recycled when they inspected the firm’s site in Pyeongtaek City.
“The Korean exporter made a false export declaration of the contents of the shipment, which was originally declared as recycled plastic materials in their papers,” Kim said.
The embassy official added that the materials authorities found include “waste wood, metal and other wastes which had not gone through an appropriate recycling process,” and mixed with plastic wastes.
Kim said that Seoul’s Bureau of Customs had also begun a probe into the exporting company to determine whether they submitted the proper documents.
The company in question was also forbidden from shipping containers found in their site as authorities continue with their investigation.
“The Korean government initiated the legal procedure to have the said shipment of wastes be brought back to Korea by issuing a prior notice of repatriation order,” she said.
The garbage shipment from South Korea, which was initially declared as “plastic synthetic flakes,” was released from the Mindanao International Container Port in July.
The shipment, consigned to South Korean company Verde Soko II Industrial Corp., found its way to the firm’s recycling facility in Tagoloan town, where residents complained of foul odor.
Authorities discovered in November that the waste from Korea included dangerous materials such as batteries, bulbs, old electronic equipment, dextrose tubes, and other hospital wastes.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources said Verde Soko, which claims the shipment did not contain hazardous materials, is not a registered importer of recyclable materials.
Lawmakers berated the Bureau of Customs for its failure to prevent the entry of the South Korean garbage.
The House committee on ecology, chaired by Quirino Rep. Dakila Cua, is conducting a probe into the mixed waste that was delivered in January to a warehouse in Barangay Guizo and an open dumpsite in Barangay Tingub, in Cebu.
The waste was shipped back to Jeju, South Korea in February following the local government’s discovery of the irregular disposal of plastics in Tingub.
At a congressional hearing earlier this week, Jessica Delgado of the Cebu port earned the ire of lawmakers when she admitted that her office failed to check the shipment’s harmonized system or tariff code.
She said based on the shipment documents, the cargo was declared as recycled synthetic resin, not waste.
She admitted she was not well-versed in the HS code system.
In 2013, Ontario-based private firm Chronic Inc. shipped to the Philippines at least 55 containers filled with trash, including household waste. The garbage has been languishing in a landfill in Capas, Tarlac.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last week that his government is working to take back the garbage.
READ: Eco group slams entry of garbage from S. KoreaREAD: DENR acts to resolve issue on garbage from S. Korea
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