Environment group tells South Korea to take back garbage dumped in PH

Photo: EcoWaste Coalition website
Photo: EcoWaste Coalition website

The Philippines is not a dumping site.

This is the stance of environment group EcoWaste Coalition which held a peaceful protest earlier today outside the Embassy of the Republic of South Korea in Taguig City.

The protest comes after news broke that tons of misdeclared plastic waste arrived in the Philippines from South Korea in July.

It was discovered that the shipment had tons of mixed waste which included plastic and other materials, Greenpeace said in a statement released yesterday.

5,100 metric tons of plastic and other waste materials were dumped at the Mindanao International Container Terminal (MICT) in Misamis Oriental and a warehouse in Cagayan de Oro City in July. The waste materials include used dextrose tubes, diapers, batteries, bulbs, and electronic equipment, EcoWaste Coalition revealed.

The group submitted a letter to Ambassador Han Dong-man urging his government to “act decisively to ensure the speedy return of tons of garbage imported from South Korea.”

The protest was dubbed as the “Korea: Basura (Garbage) Out of the Philippines” or K-BOP action.

Wit game strong, there.

The group expressed their concern about how developed countries such as South Korea turn to low and middle-income countries to dump their plastic waste in.

“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,’” stated Aileen Lucero, the group’s National Coordinator.

The EcoWaste Coalition also stated that this was not the first time South Korea dumped garbage in the country.

Some 5,000 metric tons of mixed wastes which were misdeclared as “solid granular particles of wood chips and synthetic resin” arrived at the Port of Cebu in February last year and were subsequently shipped back to South Korea upon the order of the Philippines Bureau of Customs and the Cebu Port Authority.

The group also urged the South Korean government to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment which prohibits the export of hazardous waste from developed to developing countries even for recycling purposes.

Greenpeace Philippines campaigner Abigail Aguilar said in a statement yesterday that the dumping incident was “distressing.”

“While the Philippines itself is reeling from the amount of plastic waste we are generating, it is distressing that other countries are still looking at us to dispose of their waste,” Aguilar said.

“The world needs reminding that the Philippines and other developing countries are not dumping grounds.”

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