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Waste shipments flow roiled Palace

The Palace on Friday said the government would not allow other countries to turn the Philippines into a dumping ground for their garbage, even as the Bureau of Customs reported intercepting a shipment of residual waste from Hong Kong.

Waste shipments flow roiled Palace
GARBAGE. Members of Ban Toxics, a non-government organization, stage a rally Friday in front of the Senate in Pasay City, demanding the ratification of Basel Ban Amendment, a treaty prohibiting the import of all kinds of wastes from rich to poorer countries like the garbage from Canada, from Australia, and plastic waste from Hong Kong. Lino Santos
Reports of the new shipment of 25 tons of mixed plastic waste came as the government pushed to return to Canada tons of rotting garbage that had been shipped to the Port of Manila by a private Canadian company in 2013 and 2104.

Waste shipments were also flagged from South Korea and Australia.

The Philippines… will not allow its territory to be treated as a dumping ground for trash by any foreign country or entity,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

READ: PH as garbage dump? Aussies follow suit after Canada, SoKor

“We call on concerned agencies of the government to continue exercising vigilance and hinder the entry of such shipments of garbage into our territorial jurisdiction at the first instance,” he added.

Earlier, environmental watchdog EcoWaste Coalition slammed China’s attempt to dump a shipment of mixed plastic waste in Manila.

EcoWaste Coalition national coordinator Aileen Lucero denounced the entry of over 25 tons of mixed plastic waste from Hong Kong.

“We are shocked that the shipment originated from Hong Kong, which we find truly ironic since China has taken the unprecedented move to protect its own environment by banning waste imports, including electronic and plastic scraps and remnants,” Lucero said.

“We, therefore, request the Chinese government to seriously look into this matter,” she added.

Lucero said officials from the Bureau of Customs Region 10 had inspected a 40-foot container van, containing 22 slings bags with 25,610 kilograms of mixed plastic wastes, wrongly declared as “assorted electronic accessories.”

The shipment arrived at the Mindanao Container Terminal in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental on Jan. 2 on board the SITC Fujian. The cargo was then shipped by Hin Yuen Tech. Env. Limited and was consigned to Crowd Win Industrial Ltd.

“We are appalled by this attempt to bring mixed plastic scraps, shredded electronics, and other residual waste materials in violation of our customs and environmental laws,” said BOC Region 10 Port Collector John Simon. “As guardian of the gate, we cannot allow our country to be treated by others as a disposal or dumping site for the world’s garbage.”

The BOC official confirmed that the bureau will soon initiate the repatriation of the illegal shipment back to its port of origin in Hong Kong.

Panelo commended the BOC for detecting the waste shipment.

The bureau on Friday said the tons of trash shipped from Australia to the Philippines are non-recyclable and considered garbage, even as the consignee of the seven container vans, Holcim Phils., said it would use the garbage as an alternative fuel to coal for producing cement.

Acting Deputy Collector for Assessment Mel Pascual said the shipment contained trash and not municipal waste and scrap materials, as Holcim declared.

“When it was examined by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, it was determined that the shipment indeed contained waste materials, not municipal waste,” Pascual said in a TV interview.

Greenpeace Philippine campaigner Abigail Aguilar condemned Australia’s attempt to dump trash in the Philippines.

“The Australian trash in Misamis Oriental is unacceptable, reprehensible and deplorable. 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. The Philippines is still reeling from the issue of Canadian waste that, after more than half a decade, the Canadian government is still not taking responsibility for,” he said.

“Furthermore, Holcim’s excuse that the imported waste will be used as an alternative fuel for its cement production 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. 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,” Aguilar said in a statement.

Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, meanwhile, urged governments to strictly enforce bans on illegally shipped waste from developed countries.

“When the wealthy nations clean up, it should not have to be at the expense of the developing world. Governments in Asia, which has become the world’s new dumpsite, must strictly guard their territories against waste smuggling from richer countries,” said Beau Baconguis, plastics campaigner of GAIA and Asia Pacific Coordinator of Break Free From Plastic.

READ: Canada to take back trash ‘sooner than later’

READ: Duterte orders garbage sent back to Canada

Topics: Bureau of Customs , Salvador Panelo , Break Free From Plastic , EcoWaste Coalition
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