THE last batch of South Korean wastes shipped to Misamis Oriental is expected to be sent back on February 23, a waste and pollution watchdog group said.
In a statement, the EcoWaste Coalition said the Bureau of Customs (BOC)-Northern Mindanao port collector John Simon informed them in a text message that a total of 100 container vans of contaminated waste will be returned in two schedules -- February 16 and 23.
The group quoted Simon as saying "this will bring the total number of re-exported containers to 201, noting that 50 container vans were shipped back on January 19 and another 51 container vans on January 13."
"The re-exportation of the remaining wastes from South Korea this month signifies our nation's steadfastness to protect public health and the environment from the deceptive trade in hazardous waste disguise as plastic waste for recycling," Simon said.
"As guardians of our ports, we are committed to curb illegal trade and halt all forms of customs fraud, including the practice of falsely declaring hazardous waste and other wastes as recyclables," he added.
The group said the container ships "Vivaldi" and "Nordmarsh" will bring the stranded wastes back to South Korea.
The EcoWaste coalition, which has been monitoring compliance to the bilateral agreement by the governments of the Philippines and South Korea for the re-export of the illegal waste consignments, welcomed this development.
"The re-exportation of the remaining wastes and the cleanup of the storage site in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental, which factually became an open dumpsite for South Korean rubbish, will help in bringing this dumping controversy to a close," said Aileen Lucero, national coordinator of EcoWaste Coalition.
"To deter illegal traffic of waste in the future, all those responsible for this mess should be fully held accountable in accordance with the rule of law," said Lucero, who also emphasized the need for the national government to impose a total ban on waste importation and to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment, an international law banning transfer of hazardous waste from developed to developing countries.
"These environmental justice measures will protect our country and our people from the negative consequences of global waste trade," she added.
Imported by Verde Soko Philippines Industrial Corporation, the South Korean waste shipments wrongly declared as "plastic synthetic flakes" and weighing about 6,500 tons arrived in Northern Mindanao in July and October 2018.