South Korean gov’t: Trash reshipment slated September
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY –– A Customs official here said the remaining 5,177 metric tons of mostly plastic garbage from South Korea would be ready for reshipment once the boat that would pick it up has arrived from South Korea.
John Simon, Bureau of Customs (BOC) Region 10 Mindanao Container Terminal sub-port collector, however, said there was no definite date yet for the reshipment.
“We are awaiting the vessel from Korea. The announcement is forthcoming,” Simon said in a text message to the Inquirer on Thursday.
He said the amount that would be spent for the re-exportation of the garbage had to be approved by the Korean National Assembly, details of which had not yet been divulged to the media.
This developed as the environment watchdog EcoWaste Coalition said the South Korean government had informed them they might ship back the trash sometime in September.
This was after the Korean Embassy in Manila sent a letter to the group on August 6, saying that “relevant Korean authorities” had already been discussing the details with the Philippine BOC for the repatriation of the controversial garbage.
“We will have to wait for the results of the discussion but it seems that the waste is expected to be returned to Korea in September 2019,” the South Korean embassy was quoted by EcoWaste in a statement released Thursday, August 8.
The Korean embassy’s announcement was in reply to the letter sent by EcoWaste to the South Korean president on Aug. 2.
“We welcome this important piece of information from the South Korean Embassy, which is a good indication that the overstaying wastes will be gone soon and will not suffer the same fate as the infamous garbage from Canada that sailed back to its source after six years, following a diplomatic crisis,” EcoWaste Coalition national coordinator Aileen Lucero said in the statement.
“We hope the vessel that will bring the illegal waste exports back to South Korea will be identified and dispatched sooner as the wastes are ready to be picked up any time,” she added.
Earlier declared by BOC-10 as “misdeclared (shipment), heterogeneous and injurious to public health,” the imported garbage has been stored at the compound of consignee Verde Soko Philippines Industrial Corporation inside the Phividec Industrial Estate at Sitio Buguac, Barangay Santa Cruz, Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental since July last year.
Verde Soko officials said the trash was intended as
materials for its recycling facility.
The company did not push through with its operation after the BOC red-flagged the misdeclared garbage. while the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said Verde Soko failed to secure an environmental permit.
Earlier, Customs officials sent back to the port of Pyeongtaek in South Korea nearly 1,400 tons of containerized illegal mixed plastic wastes, which formed part of the trash imported by Verde Soko.
To stop the coming in of other imported wastes, Ecowaste reiterated its appeal to President Duterte to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment that prohibits the export of hazardous and other wastes from developed to developing countries for any reason.
The group also supported a complete and permanent ban on foreign waste imports, citing the need to protect public health and the environment.
It also urged lawmakers to prioritize proposed bills in the Lower House and Senate, such as those filed by Misamis Oriental 2nd District Rep. Juliette Uy and Senators Franklin Drilon, Imee Marcos, and Francis Pangilinan, to protect the country from becoming a global waste dump.
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