EcoWaste urges Canada to follow SoKor waste move

By Catherine Teves

November 23, 2018, 12:10 am

MANILA -- The environmental group EcoWaste Coalition believes Canada must follow South Korea's gesture of taking back right away its misdeclared plastic waste shipped to the Philippines five years ago.
EcoWaste adviser Manny Calonzo said South Korea's assurance about taking steps to have the illegal cargo returned must be a reminder for Canada to already take back its hazardous waste, which has been in the Philippines since 2013.
"It's high time for Canada to follow suit and take back its waste without further delay," Calonzo said in an interview on Thursday.
Earlier, the Environmental Management Bureau said the cargo from Canada consisted of imported scrap metals mixed with used diapers and other waste.
EcoWaste branded the cargo from South Korea as misdeclared plastic waste.
According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), South Korea's 5,100-ton cargo declared as plastic synthetic flakes was not covered by the DENR's importation clearance.
Neither is the South Korean company nor the cargo's consignee, Verde Soko II Industrial Corp., was registered as an importer of recyclable materials, the DENR stated.
Citing a press release on the website of South Korea's embassy in the Philippines on Wednesday, EcoWaste said South Korea has assured to take back its cargo.
"Relevant authorities of Korea will have the wastes in question be repatriated and properly disposed of and work to prevent recurrence of the problem," the Korean press release said.
South Korea's Ministry of Environment initiated on Nov. 21 legal proceedings to have the waste brought back "in accordance with Article 20 of the Law on Cross-border movement and Disposal of Wastes - Prior Notice of Repatriation Order - and embarked on investigation of the violation of Article 18-2 of the said law - False Export Declaration," the press release said further.
EcoWaste is hoping South Korea's action on the matter will lead to strengthening of regulatory controls that will prevent garbage from being dumped in the Philippines again.
According to EcoWaste, South Korea's commitment to take back the waste is laudable.
“We commend the action taken by the Korean government to get this dumping controversy resolved without delay. This early, we say ‘kamsa hamnida’ to Korea for doing the right thing and for respecting our nation’s right not to be treated as their waste bin,” EcoWaste national coordinator Aileen Lucero said in the network's Nov. 222018 press release.
EcoWaste reported receiving this week from the embassy of South Korea, an email about that country's action on the waste.
South Korea's Ministry of Environment, Korea Customs Service, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs have begun investigating the Korean exporter involved in the controversial shipment, the press release added.
What South Korea did was an earnest move, Calonzo said.
"We're very optimistic that in a few weeks, the waste from South Korea will be out of our country," he added.
He said EcoWaste will monitor the waste's shipment back to South Korea.
Earlier, EcoWaste said it picketed the South Korean embassy this month to seek the return of the waste to that country.
The picket called K-BOP (Korea: Basura Out of the Philippines) attracted South Korean media's attention, EcoWaste said. (PNA)