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Take back your garbage ASAP, South Korea told

By: - Reporter / @DYGalvezINQ
/ 05:17 PM November 15, 2018
ecowaste_web South korea waste

Members of the environmental group EcoWaste troop to the South Korean embassy to urge the South Korean government to act swiftly to ensure a speedy return of tons of garbage imported from South Korea and discovered at the Mindanao international container terminal. GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE/INQUIRER

An environmental advocacy group on Thursday urged the government of South Korea to “act decisively” in ensuring the speedy return of tons of garbage it dumped into the country.

At a peaceful protest held on Thursday outside the Embassy of the Republic of South Korea, the EcoWaste Coalition said they submitted a letter to Ambassador Han Dong-ma appealing to the South Korea government to act with urgency in addressing the garbage dumping in Mindanao.

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“We strongly believe that the Philippines, a sovereign country, deserves not to be treated as a garbage dump. In fact, we believe no country or community should be debased as a dumping ground for garbage,” Ecowaste Coalition President Eileen Sison said in a statement.

The group drew attention to the 5,100 metric tons of plastic and other waste materials, including used dextrose tubes, diapers, batteries, bulbs and electronic equipment dumped at the Mindanao International Container Terminal (MICT) in Misamis Oriental and the hundreds of giant bales of garbage found at a Cagayan de Oro warehouse.

The group also expressed fear that developed countries like South Korea turn to low and middle-income countries to dump their plastic wastes.

“We are concerned that plastics that are difficult or are costly to recycle in your country are being dumped in low- and middle-income countries such as the Philippines in the guise of ‘recycling,’” the group’s National Coordinator Aileen Lucero said.

“The Philippines has a serious plastic waste problem that is already spilling into the world’s oceans, and the export of plastic scraps and mis-declared waste materials from the Republic of Korea is only exacerbating our plastic dilemma,” she added.

The group also urged the South Korean government that in order to ensure that garbage dumping will never occur again, their government must strengthen its regulatory controls that will prevent the export of garbage to countries guised as “recycling.”

“Any trade in plastic waste should be subjected to strict controls based on the numerous negative experiences of Southeast Asian countries, and responsibility for dealing with them must be shouldered by manufacturers, following extended producer responsibility and close to the source as possible,” the group said.

The EcoWaste Coalition requested Ambassador Han Dong-man to raise the matter to the immediate attention of South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Environment Minister Cho Myung-rae./ac

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