After Canada, illegally shipped toxic waste sent back to Hong Kong
Heaps of illegally exported electronic waste were first discovered in Mindanao last February
Jun 5, 2019
A cargo of mixed electronic and plastic waste was sent back to Hong Kong last Monday after it was illegally transported to the Mindanao International Container Terminal (MCT) in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental last February. The move follows the initial return of 69 out of over a hundred container vans containing toxic waste, which has been sitting in the country’s landfills for more than five years, back to Canada.
According to MCT’s subport collector John Simon, the shipment was made under the guise of ‘assorted electronic accessories,’ which is deemed “illegal under the laws of Hong Kong and the Philippines and the Basel Convention.”
Both the Philippines and Hong Kong are signatories of the Basel Convention, an international environmental treaty that aims to prevent transfers of hazardous waste between countries. While the Philippines has been a signatory since 1989, it was only enforced in the country in 1994.
The shipment contained PCBs which are considered highly toxic electronic scraps that can cause adverse effects to human health and the environment. Other materials found in the shipment include shredded computers and gadgets.
The 2.561 tons of mixed waste were shipped back via the SITC Nagoya last Jun. 3, Monday. The Daily Express reported that Hong Kong will bear all re-shipment costs.
Meanwhile, environmental group EcoWaste Coalition denounced the illegal shipment, emphasizing that the country should not be “treated by others as a disposal or dumping site for world’s garbage.”
“We are shocked that the shipment originated from Hong Kong, which we find truly ironic since China has taken the unprecedented move to protect its own environment by banning waste imports, including electronic and plastic scraps and remnants. We therefore request the Chinese government to seriously look into this matter,” said Aileen Lucero of EcoWaste Coalition.
Similar to Greenpeace, EcoWaste Coalition also called for the “comprehensive and immediate ban on waste imports and for the rapid ratification of the Basel Ban Amendment,” which prohibits developed countries from exporting hazardous waste to developing countries for any reason.
You can sign Greenpeace’s online petition urging the government to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment here.
Header image courtesy of EcoWaste Coalition
Read more by Jill Chua:
Manila Fame 2019 features handicrafts from Marawi and Antique
This is what the ban on secondhand goods means for the circular economy
Let’s talk about “the elephant onboard:” airline waste
Haul books for as low as P50 at National Book Store’s sale
Getting through the ‘mini-city’ this holiday season