Group Hopes PRRD’s Latest Foreign Trash Rant Will Turn Into a Strong Policy Banning Waste Importation

The EcoWaste Coalition renewed its call on the government to ban foreign waste importation following the latest presidential diatribe against waste from other countries being dumped into our shores.

Last Wednesday, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, speaking at the inauguration of a solar power project in Tablas Island, province of Romblon, lambasted developed countries anew for shipping their garbage to the Philippines in the guise of recycling.

“We had that experience of Canada and the rest of the industrialized countries exporting their garbage in the guise that they can still be used,” said the President.  “I’d like to say to the Western countries, do not make us a garbage dump.”

“The president’s abhorrence against garbage from overseas being dumped into our ports, which is shared by many if not all Filipinos, should be translated into a robust policy that will proactively prevent such a bad practice from continuing,” suggested Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Our country needs to impose a total ban, not simply a moratorium, on waste imports to send a clear and unequivocal signal to trash traders and traffickers that sending contaminated plastics and other wastes to the Philippines is no longer a profitable option for them,” she said.

The group also repeated its call for the immediate re-export of 5,177 tons of contaminated plastic waste materials from South Korea, part of which caught fire last August 12, and the 211 tons of waste-derived processed engineered fuel from Australia, which are languishing in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.

The EcoWaste Coalition and over a dozen public interest groups had earlier asked the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to completely and permanently ban all waste imports.

“If a complete ban is not enforced, would the authorities have enough trained personnel to actually sniff out all shipments of ‘recyclables’ that could contain hazardous materials in all ports?,” the groups asked.   

The EcoWaste Coalition also reiterated the need for the Duterte government to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment, which aims to prohibit the export of hazardous wastes and other wastes from developed to developing countries for any reason, including recycling.

Two more ratifications from a list of eligible countries are required for the Basel Ban Amendment to enter into force.

The Philippines is one of the 24 countries whose ratification would count toward bringing the amendment into legal force, the group noted.  

“We believe President Duterte and his Cabinet appreciate this historic opportunity and will prioritize the ratification of the Basel Ban Amendment and its eventual transmittal to the Senate this year for the required concurrence,” Lucero said.

A cost-benefit analysis commissioned by the DENR has concluded that the Philippines has the capacity to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment based on net positive assessment. 

-end-

Reference for PRRD’s latest statement on foreign waste:
https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/08/22/19/duterte-to-western-countries-do-not-make-us-a-garbage-dump
https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1078410
https://tribune.net.ph/index.php/2019/08/23/duterte-in-new-trash-rant/

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