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Customs to ship back 5,000 tons of waste to South Korea

THE Bureau of Customs (BoC) will ship back to South Korea starting next week more than 5,000 tons of hazardous waste that had been discharged at the Mindanao Container Port (MCT) in Togoloan, Misamis Oriental as these were misdeclared as recyclable plastic synthetic flakes.

Mindanao International Container Terminal (MICT) Customs Co llector John Simon disclosed on Wednesday that the reexportation-exportation would be done in two batches with the first 60 containers scheduled on January 19 and the remaining on February 9.

The waste products had been kept since July 2018 at the Phividec Industrial Estate in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.

The return of the remaining waste to South Korea was delayed because of financial and logistical issues related its rebagging and transfer from the Phividec site to the MICT.

Simon said that the reexportation of waste materials would be done in coordination with the South Korean government through its embassy in Manila.

“This is a clear signal to all concerned that our beloved country is not a global dump and that waste traffickers will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” he said.

Records showed that Verde Soko, on two separate occasions, brought into the country one shipload containing 5,176.91 metric tons of various plastic and waste materials misdeclared as plastic synthetic flakes. Fifty-one 40-footer containers were also declared as plastic synthetic flakes.

The 51 containers were shipped back last year to the port of origin in Pyeongtaek City, South Korea.

Both shipments were issued the corresponding warrant of seizure and detention for violating Sections 117 and 1400 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

Customs Memorandum Circular (CMC) 44-2015 prohibits the unloading of hazardous shipment without clearance.

CMC 44-2015 stipulates a “No Importation Clearance, No Unloading Policy” under Republic Act 6969, otherwise known as the “Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste Control Act of 1990,” and the Basel Convetion on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal.

The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Region 10 had examined the shipments and found them to contain household hazardous waste. The broker was identified as Mary Claire T. Booc.

Davao City-based Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability and Quezon City-based EcoWaste Coalition hailed the planned return of the waste materials.

At the same time, the EcoWaste Coalition pressed the national government to speed up its ratification of the Basel Ban Amendment, which entered into force on December 5 last year, and to adopt a full ban on foreign waste importation to protect the country from illegal waste traffic.

The Basel Ban Amendment prohibits the export of hazardous waste for all reasons, including recycling, from rich countries belonging to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, European Union and Liechtenstein to developing countries like the Philippines.

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