EcoWaste Coalition Welcomes Filing of Smuggling Complaint vs Importer of Garbage from Canada

Photo Courtesy of Bureau of Customs
The rapid filing of smuggling charges by the customs authorities against persons responsible for the botched importation of hazardous garbage from Canada drew positive reaction from a waste and pollution watchdog group.

The EcoWaste Coalition welcomed the legal action taken by Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner John Sevilla against Adelfa Eduardo, owner of the Valenzuela City-based Chronic Plastics and Leonora Flores and Sherjun Saldon, the company’s licensed customs brokers.

The three were charged yesterday before the Department of Justice for violations of the Revised Penal Code, the Tariff and Customs Code and Republic 6969, or the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990, which bans the importation of hazardous waste into the country.

“Importing hazardous trash in the guise of recycling is not only totally devious and criminal, but a direct affront to our nation’s dignity, health and sovereignty.  It is one of the most heinous of environmental crimes that must never happen again,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“We therefore welcome the filing of charges against the offenders and urge the judiciary to mete out the maximum punishment possible to send an unambiguous message to waste smugglers and traders that the Philippines is not and will never be the landfill to the world,” she declared.

“We will keenly monitor the case as its outcome could help in preventing future attempts to bring hazardous waste into our shores,” she stated.

Lucero announced that the EcoWaste Coalition will create an ad hoc group to specifically follow the proceedings and observe the delivery of justice.

As the case is heard, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the government to ensure the immediate return of the intercepted 50 container vans of garbage to Canada at the expense of Chronic Plastics.

“The BOC is our nation’s frontline defense against the dumping of dangerous products and wastes, and we expect our customs inspectors to foil all smuggling bids and keep our economy and environment safe, especially from biological and chemical hazards,” she stated.

To help the BOC effectively repel hazardous waste dumping, the EcoWaste Coalition renewed its call for the government to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment.

While Canada and the Philippines are parties to the Basel Convention, neither has ratified the Basel Ban Amendment, which bans the export of hazardous waste from developed to developing countries for recycling, disposal and other purposes.

Ratifying the Basel Ban Amendment will protect the Philippines from being a dumping group by shifting the burden of preventing toxic waste exports to toxic waste generators like Canada, the EcoWaste Coalition said.