Health and Safety Toxic Waste

Third Batch of Illegal Waste Shipments from South Korea to be Sent Back on February 16

(Fourth and last batch to be shipped back on February 23)

12 February 2020, Quezon City. A total of 100 container vans of contaminated plastic waste illegally shipped to Northern Mindanao from South Korea will soon be returned to their source.

As announced by the Bureau of Customs-Region X (BOC-10) Port Collector John Simon through a text message to the EcoWaste Coalition, 50 container vans will be sent back to South Korea on February 16 and the last 50 containers on February 23.

“This will bring the total number of re-exported containers to 201,” said Simon, noting that 50 containers were shipped back on January 19, 2020, and another 51 containers on January 13, 2019.

“The re-exportation of the remaining wastes from South Korea this month signifies our nation’s steadfastness to protect public health and the environment from the deceptive trade in hazardous waste disguised as plastic waste for recycling,” said Simon.

“As guardians of our ports, we are committed to curb illegal trade and halt all forms of customs fraud, including the practice of falsely declaring hazardous waste and other wastes as recyclables,” he added.

The container ships “Vivaldi” and “Nordmarsh” will bring the stranded wastes back to South Korea on February 16 and 23, respectively, confirmed Simon.

The environmental health group EcoWaste Coalition, which has been monitoring compliance with the bilateral agreement by the governments of the Philippines and South Korea for the re-export of the illegal waste consignments, welcomed Simon’s announcement.

“The re-exportation of the remaining wastes and the cleanup of the storage site in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental, which factually became an open dumpsite for South Korean rubbish, will help in bringing this dumping controversy to a close,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“To deter illegal traffic of waste in the future, all those responsible for this mess should be fully held accountable in accordance with the rule of law,” said Lucero, who also emphasized the need for the national government to impose a total ban on waste importation and to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment, an international law banning transfer of hazardous waste from developed to developing countries.

“These environmental justice measures will protect our country and our people from the negative consequences of global waste trade,” she added.

Imported by Verde Soko Philippines Industrial Corporation, the South Korean waste shipments wrongly declared as “plastic synthetic flakes” and weighing about 6,500 tons arrived in Northern Mindanao in July and October 2018.

Assessed by the authorities as “misdeclared, heterogenous and injurious to public health,” BOC-10 then issued three warrants of seizure and detention against the illegal waste shipments from South Korea.

BOC-10 further issued a re-exportation order for the said waste shipments citing violations of DENR Administrative Order 2013-22 and Republic Act 10863, or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.