Locsin orders return of trash to Australia
MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has ordered the return to Australia of the garbage shipped into the country last month for use by cement manufacturer Holcim Philippines Inc.
Locsin rejected Holcim’s explanation that the trash, which arrived in seven containers at Mindanao International Container Terminal (MICT) in Misamis Oriental province on May 3, would be used as alternative fuel for its cement kilns.
Trash dispute with Canada
The Philippines on May 31 ended a dispute over trash with Canada after Ottawa took back 69 containers of nonrecyclable waste that were illegally shipped to Manila in 2013 and 2014.
“O, by the way, the garbage from Australia, that’s going back, too,” Locsin said in a tweet on Monday.
“No, I don’t give a flying f–k that it is used in making cement. If that is so, cement makers should formally import the ingredient so it goes nowhere but to their plants,” he added.
Customs authorities and MICT port operators found the trash shipment from Australia on May 14 after the containers “gave off a characteristic smell inherent to municipal waste.”
Reports said the shipment contained “pieces of assorted scrap plastic, cellophane, wrappers, chunks of hard plastic, textiles, fibers, wood chips, glass cullet, stones, soil, paper and other shredded waste materials” that could not be easily recycled.
Malacañang called the trash from Australia “offensive” and vowed not to allow it to remain in the country.
Garbage from Hong Kong and Korea was also found at MICT in May and October last year.
South Korea took back part of the shipment in January, but 5,176 metric tons of waste remained in Misamis Oriental.
A container of plastic waste from Hong Kong misdeclared as electronic accessories arrived in the province in January.
Customs officials said 70 containers were supposed to have been shipped into the country from Hong Kong had the first container not been found.
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