DENR to coordinate with BOC, DOJ on charges vs companies behind waste shipment from US

Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) – October 26, 2020 – 4:54pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources said it will be working with the Bureau of Customs and the Department of Justice for the filing of criminal charges against the exporter and consignee of the illegal waste shipments from the United States.

Last week, the BOC intercepted containers of potential imported waste materials at the Subic Bay International Terminal Corp. The manifesto declared the cargo was “American old corrugated cartons for repulping” but an examination of the initial five containers revealed “prohibited materials which were illegally imported,” the DENR said in a release. 

Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny Antiporda said the waste materials found in the container vans were a mix of plastic, paper and some face masks, which are in violation of DENR Administrative Order 2013-22 or the Revised Procedures and Standards for the Management of Hazardous Waste.

The shipment also violates the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal, which prohibits the transboundary movement of hazardous waste and import of mixed and municipal waste.

The DENR said the BOC is set to open all 30 container vans to determine the appropriate cases to be filed against the exporter and the consignee.

Antiporda said the companies, if found liable, have the responsibility to return the waste to their source at their own expense.

‘Materials within internationally-accepted quality standards’

According to the DENR, the shipments arrived in Subic in mid-October under the name VIPA Incorporated and were consigned to Bataan 2020 Inc.

In a statement issued on October 23, Bataan 2020 said the materials found in the containers the combined team of DENR and BOC personnel were “within internationally-accepted industry quality standards and were allowed into the country covered by appropriate documents.”

“Out of the five containers, the team found only a couple of face masks inside one container filled with old papers and cartons. There were no ferrous materials found in any of the containers that went through inspection,” Bataan 2020 said.

The company, which is a member of the Philippine Paper Manufacturers Association, imports previously used paper and cartons and recycles them.

‘Ratify Basel Ban’

Environment groups Greenpeace Philippines and EcoWaste Coalition said that foreign waste dumping will continue as long as the government refuses to enforce a comprehensive ban on all waste imports.

“The fact that we continue to be a dumping ground of countries like the US shows that the government has not been doing enough to stop waste imports: the sad reality is that we don’t have strong policies in place to prevent it,” said Marian Ledesma, Greenpeace Philippines campaigner.

Both groups called on the government to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment, which prohibits the export of hazardous waste from developed to developing countries, and certify as urgent pending bills calling for comprehensive ban on waste importation.



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