Korean, Filipino waste importer ‘not yet off the hook’–DENR exec

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THE people behind the importation of purportedly recyclable plastics from Korea but turned out to be hazardous wastes sent to the country’s port are still not yet off the hook.

This, even as the Philippines is scheduled to return to South Korea on January 9 some 6,500 tons of hazardous waste in Mindanao.

Undersecretary Benny D. Antiporda of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) warned the importer of the hazardous waste, Verde Soko Philippines Industrial Corp., to do its part by returning the waste already transferred in its compound in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.

“They should immediately move to return the wastes because these hazardous waste are exposed to the elements and pose risks to the people and the environment,” Antiporda, the DENR’s undersecretary for solid waste management and local government units (LGUs), said.

About 5,100 tons of garbage arrived at the Mindanao International Container Terminal in Misamis Oriental province in July last year. More waste in 51 containers was shipped in October and were transferred to Verde Soko’s compound. However, an inspection later revealed that the shipment contained hazardous materials like used dextrose tubes, soiled diapers, batteries, bulbs, and electronic equipment, in violation of the Basel Convention.

“We will return on [Wednesday about] 51 containers of waste back to South Korea. It will take only one day to do that. What we are worried about are those that are already transferred and are exposed to the elements. If the importer will not act fast, we might file a case against them, including one Korean executive,” Antiporda said but declining to name the officials facing charges.

According to port authorities, the first batch of waste has to be carefully repacked before these are shipped back to the Koreans.

“There is proper coordination going on. They will take it [hazardous waste] back on January 9. The next will be the ones that were already opened or transferred. It will take at least a month. But if it will take a long time for them to return it, we will file charges against the importers,” Antiporda said.

“We will charge even the Korean executives and we will initiate deportation proceeding by filing a complaint before the Bureau of Immigration for being an undesirable alien,” he added.

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Jonathan L. Mayuga

Jonathan L. Mayuga is a journalist for more than 15 years. He is a product of the University of the East – Manila. An awardee of the J. G. Burgos Biotech Journalism Awards, BrightLeaf Agricultural Journalism Awards, Binhi Agricultural Journalism Awards, and Sarihay Environmental Journalism Awards.
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