Asia’s garbage dump*

IS the garbage problem of South Korea slowly becoming insurmountable, forcing its people to find other locations where they can dump their trash? And do they think so little of us and consider our country as Asia’s garbage dump where they can freely dispose of their rubbish?

A report revealed that a ship from South Korea containing tons of plastic garbage arrived at Mindanao International Container Terminal in July. The consignee for the shipment, which was erroneously declared as “plastic synthetic flakes”, was South Korean company Verde Soko Philippines Industrial Corporation. However, a representative of Verde Soko refused to explain why it was incorrectly declared.

The violation it supposedly committed could be found in Section 1400 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act on “Misdeclaration, Misclassification, Undervaluation in Goods Declaration”.

This was the second time these Asian brothers of ours did so since the Bureau of Customs (BOC) also called on a South Korean shipper to take back some 5,000 metric tons of suspected garbage that was dumped in Mandaue City in Cebu in 2017. Not only was this offensive but highly intolerable.

If you recall, Canada was the first to treat our country like a garbage dump when around 103 container vans containing trash arrived in the country between 2013 and early 2014 supposedly as recyclable plastic scraps. Half of the garbage was allegedly dumped in Capas, Tarlac. Environment groups feared the trash contained toxic materials.

During Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s 2015 visit to our country for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, he vowed to solve the problem of Canadian companies exporting garbage to countries like the Philippines. However, this promise has failed to see the light of day and the issue remains unresolved.

We fully understand if South Korea is taking action to control its waste but does it need to send its garbage abroad and pester other countries with its problem? Countries like Canada and South Korea should be fully responsible for their garbage. Return the trash to its place of origin and let the plastic manufacturers deal with the problem.

Firing Line would also want to know why we keep on accepting trash from other countries when we have our own garbage problems to deal with? Remember, our plastic waste can be found almost everywhere. And trucks collect tons of garbage at Baywalk on Roxas Boulevard every time a storm hits us.

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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View.


*The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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Robert Roque Jr.
Robert B. Roque Jr. is a veteran journalist who started out as a correspondent for Manila Bulletin's tabloid TEMPO in 1983. In 1989, At age 27, he rose to become the youngest associate editor of a newspaper of national circulation. In mid-2000, he took the helm of the paper as its editor until his voluntary retirement in 2012. He currently writes a syndicated column for TEMPO, Remate, and Hataw newspapers, and for this site, Beyond Deadlines. A former journalism lecturer at the Faculty of Arts and Letters of the University of Santo Tomas from 1992 to 2002, Roque is also an active member of the Lions Clubs International, the largest service club organization in the world, having served as head of the Philippine Lions (council chairperson) in Lion Year 2011-2012.

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