Gov’t urged to ratify law vs waste dumping to Philippines

MANILA, Philippines — A green group is calling on the government to immediately ratify the Basel Ban Amendment to ensure that the Philippines will no longer become a dumping ground for wastes.

Environmental justice group BAN Toxics is urging the government to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment, which seeks to ensure that developing countries, like the Philippines, do not become convenient dumping grounds for waste intended for disposal or recycling.

It emphasized that it is a loophole that continues to be exploited under the international treaty Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal.

“As long as the Basel Ban Amendment has not been ratified by our government, waste traders will feel emboldened and continue to view the Philippines’ open-door policy to wastes as a welcome mat for dumping,” BAN Toxics’ deputy executive director Reynaldo San Juan said.

“The ratification is a work toward minimizing the risk of rich countries trashing our country. It is the necessary step to further defend our national dignity and protect the nation’s health and environment from waste global trade,” he added.

While the repatriation of the Canadian waste is a historic moment for the Philippines, the group clamors for a more sustainable and stronger action from the government in protecting the environment.

Last week, MV Bavaria, carrying 69 cargo vans containing mixed wastes, sailed back to Canada, where the shipments all originated.

In 2013, 50 container vans containing household waste were shipped to the Philippines from Canada.

The waste remained in the country over half a decade later, leading President Duterte to issue a deadline for Canada to take back the waste.

The Basel Ban prohibits the export of hazardous wastes from rich to poorer countries, such as the Philippines.

The Philippines ratified the Basel Convention in 1994 and has yet to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment, which was designed to protect developing countries from becoming a dumping ground for unwanted toxic waste and garbage.

BAN Toxics said the Philippines has been a victim to illegal dumping of hazardous wastes and garbage and that the Canadian trash is just one of several incidents.

Aside from the Canadian trash, cargos containing garbage from South Korea were discovered in October 2018, and just last month, new trash shipments from Hong Kong and Australia were discovered in the port of Tagoloan in Misamis Oriental.

“The movement of trash is expected to rise as China, once the global recycler, has shut its doors from accepting these wastes in an effort to focus on their domestic wastes,” San Juan said.