Philippines to send back shipload of garbage to South Korea

The shipment of garbage from South Korea was wrongfully declared as ‘plastic synthetic flakes.’ (Social media)
Updated 13 November 2018
0

Philippines to send back shipload of garbage to South Korea

  • Philippines not a dumping site for foreign waste, says government
  • Those responsible for shipping the 51 container vans full of solid waste from South Korea will face the law

MANILA: Philippine authorities on Monday said tons of garbage shipped into the country last July will be sent back to South Korea.
They stressed that the Philippines is not, nor will will they allow it to be, a dumping site of foreign waste.
“We will ask the shipper to take the shipment back to where it came from. That is the recommendation of the sub port collector — to have it shipped back out to the country of origin (South Korea) — so the Philippines will not become a dumping site (of foreign waste),” Bureau of Customs (BoC) spokesperson Atty. Erasto Austria told Arab News.
He added that whoever was responsible for shipping the 51 container vans full of solid waste from South Korea will face appropriate charges.
The shipment, he said, was wrongfully declared as synthethic plastic flakes but upon examination, it turned out that the vans contained garbage. Austria added that an investigation was now being conducted at ground level.
When asked if the Philippines would file a diplomatic protest to the South Korean government, the BoC spokesperson said they were considering getting in touch with the South Korean authorities. However, he also pointed out that insofar as the BoC is concerned, it is the importer or the consignee who should be held liable, not the government of South Korea.
“The BoC does not condone this act and we will hold them (the importers) liable for this. It will be the importer who must face the appropriate charges since they are the ones who committed a violation by misdeclaring the commodities,” Austria said, referring to the Verde Soko Philippines Industrial Corporation.
“As far as the shipper is concerned, we can only ask them to take it back,” he continued.

Waste shipment
According to a “request of alert order” issued by the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service of the BoC in Cagayan de Oro City, the shipment of garbage wrongfully declared as “plastic synthetic flakes” arrived at the Mindanao container terminal in Misamis Oriental from South Korea on board “MV Affluent Ocean” on July 21. The shipment was consigned to Verde Soko Phil. Industrial Corp.
However, the discovery of the misdeclared shipment came only this month.
“What were declared as synthetic plastic flakes are actually trash and other waste materials. A clear violation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA),” said a report by John Simon, port collector at Mindanao International Container Terminal, to BoC Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero.
“The shipment is now under an alert order issued by the district collector of the port of Cagayan de Oro and will undergo 100 percent physical examination. This shipment from Korea can be considered the biggest shipment of waste that has entered the country,” the report added.
Following the discovery of the shipload of the misdeclared shipment, the EcoWaste Coalition, an environmental organization, renewed its call for the government to ban plastic waste imports and for domestic industries requiring plastic scrap inputs to source their supplies locally.
This, as it denounced the latest entry of garbage from another country. “We find this latest incident of plastic waste dumping outrageous and unacceptable. Why do we keep on accepting garbage from other countries when we know that our country’s plastic waste, which is literally everywhere, is spilling to the oceans and endangering marine life?” said Aileen Lucero, national coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
“We also find it ironic that while South Korea is taking action to control its plastic waste, including banning plastic bags in supermarkets starting October this year, its unwanted plastics are being sent abroad,” she said.
“It’s high time for the Philippines to disallow garbage imports and to demand that developed countries, as well as manufacturers of plastics and other disposable goods, take full responsibility for their products throughout their whole life cycle,” Lucero continued.
The incident is not the first time that garbage from another country was shipped to the Philippines. Lucero notes that the illegal garbage shipments from Canada misrepresented as recyclable plastic scraps, which are still in the Philippines, are a stinking reminder of how disadvantageous and unjust global waste trade is.
According to the EcoWaste Coalition, barring the importation of plastic garbage should form part of the government’s efforts to improve existing regulations “to avoid a repeat of the Canadian garbage saga.
“Imposing an import ban on scrap plastics may even prompt local industries to seek ways to retrieve locally generated plastic discards,” which can help in reducing the amount of plastics leaking to water bodies,” the group added.
The EcoWaste Coalition made the call after China announced that it would prohibit the importation of scrap plastics and other wastes by January 2018 “to protect China’s environmental interests and people’s health.”
The government of Malaysia announced last month that it will phase out in three years the importation of all types of plastic waste following the Chinese ban on waste imports.
Meanwhile, a lawmaker from Iligan City, Rep. Frederick Siao, called for the shutdown and asset seizure of the Verde Soko Philippines Industrial Corporation, and for the filing of appropriate charges against all its officers and supervisors.
“We want these culprits on the hold departure list to prevent their escape through our international airports and seaports,” said Siao.

 


Trump picks ambassador to Canada for UN post

U.S. Ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft takes part in a meeting with Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Trudeau's office on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, November 3, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 23 February 2019
0

Trump picks ambassador to Canada for UN post

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump announced Friday that he has selected Kelly Craft, the US ambassador to Canada, as his nominee to serve as the next US ambassador to the United Nations.
Trump said in a pair of tweets that Craft “has done an outstanding job representing our Nation” and he has “no doubt that, under her leadership, our Country will be represented at the highest level.”
Two people familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss personnel matters had told The Associated Press that Trump had been advised that Craft’s confirmation would be the smoothest of the three candidates he had been considering to fill the job last held by Nikki Haley.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, had backed Craft for the post, and she also has the support of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton, the people said. Trump’s first pick to replace Haley, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, withdrew over the weekend.
Craft, a Kentucky native, was a member of the US delegation to the UN General Assembly under President George W. Bush’s administration. She is also friends with McConnell’s wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, and thanked Chao for her “longtime friendship and support” at her swearing-in as ambassador.
As US ambassador to Canada, she played a role in facilitating the US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, a revamp of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Trump had also considered US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell and former US Senate candidate John James of Michigan for the post.
Nauert’s withdrawal from consideration came amid a push within the administration to fill the position, given a pressing array of foreign policy concerns in which the United Nations, particularly the UN Security Council, is likely to play a significant role. From Afghanistan to Venezuela, the administration has pressing concerns that involve the world body, and officials said there had been impatience with the delays on Nauert’s formal nomination.
Trump said Dec. 7 that he would pick the former Fox News anchor and State Department spokeswoman for the UN job, but her nomination was never formalized. Notwithstanding other concerns that may have arisen during her confirmation, Nauert’s nomination had languished in part due to the 35-day government shutdown that began Dec. 22 and interrupted key parts of the vetting process. Nauert cited family considerations in withdrawing from the post.
With Nauert out of the running, officials said Pompeo had been keen on Craft to fill the position. Although Pompeo would like to see the job filled, the vacancy has created an opportunity for him and others to take on a more active role in UN diplomacy. On Thursday, for example, Pompeo was in New York to meet with UN chief Antonio Guterres.
Trump has demoted the UN position to sub-Cabinet rank, in a move backed by both Bolton and Pompeo, according to three other officials. Grenell had suggested he wasn’t interested in a non-Cabinet role. The officials were not authorized to discuss internal personnel deliberations and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Haley had been a member of the Cabinet and had clashed repeatedly with former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and others during the administration’s first 14 months. Bolton was not a Cabinet member when he served as UN ambassador in President George W. Bush’s administration, and neither he nor Pompeo is eager to see a potential challenge to their foreign policy leadership in White House situation room meetings, according to the officials.
Nelson Wiseman, a political science professor at the University of Toronto, said Craft was appointed ambassador to Canada because of her financial contributions to the Trump campaign, but said that’s not unusual as past ambassadors have also contributed to presidents who have appointed them.
“I think Ottawa has regarded Craft as a light weight, partly because of her background and partly because the sense is that Trump, unlike his predecessors, doesn’t listen to his ambassadors or care what they think,” Wiseman said.
Craft is married to billionaire coal-mining executive Joe Craft, and they are major Republican donors.
Craft has been ambassador during a low point in relations. Last year Trump called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weak and dishonest, words that shocked Canadians.