20 August 2014

Ship Back Canada's Toxic Waste to Help Decongest Manila's Ports

An environmental watchdog has put forward a quick solution, albeit a partial one, to the much debated congestion in the ports of Manila.

“To partly help in decongesting the ports, the Canadian authorities, in the spirit of solidarity, should cause the immediate return of the 50 containers of toxic waste to their country, which have been lounging there for months,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“It’s not only a matter of freeing up port space. Returning the toxic shipments to the sender will help bring the controversy to a close and see the triumph of environmental justice,” she said.

“We therefore reiterate our request to Ambassador Neil Reeder to take back Canada's perilous garbage now," she added. 

Last April 2014, environmentalists asked the Canadian government through its Embassy in Makati City to take back the hazardous garbage originally declared as plastic scraps for recycling, which started arriving at the ports in June 2013.

Subsequent inspection by customs officers led to the discovery of the botched attempt to import mixed garbage by Chronic Plastics (the consignee) through Chronic Inc. (the shipper.)

Smuggling charges were filed in February 2014 against the Valenzuela City-based company and its proprietors for violations of the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990,
the Revised Penal Code and the Tariff and Customs Code.

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, the EcoWaste Coalition said.

Last Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship conducted its first public hearing in aid of legislation to address the congestion at the Port of Manila (POM) and Manila International Container Port (MICP).

As per Resolution 808 filed by Senator Francis Escudero,  “the congestion  has  caused  local  and  international vessels  the inability  to  dock  and  unload  their  cargoes  at  the  POM  and  MICP, making  major  shipping  lines  to  boycott  the  ports  of  Manila  due  to  lack  of available berthing spaces.”

“Concerned sectors submit that the congestion is due to, among others, the number of empty containers owned by shipping lines in the ports occupying fifty percent (50%) of the containers yards,” the senator said.

Last week, some truckers and customs brokers held protest actions in front of the Asian Terminals Inc. and various national and local government agencies to denounce the seeming inaction to solve the congestion in Manila’s ports.




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