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DENR to issue temporary order against waste imports

/ 05:42 AM August 16, 2019

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will soon come out with an administrative order that would impose a three-month moratorium on waste-related imports, following the longstanding controversies on waste imported by the country.

The order, expected to be issued within the month, would also implement a P3-million security bond for every permit issued to importers, which could cover potential export expenses should violations be found in the scrap materials shipped from other countries.

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Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said the moratorium would cover recyclable materials, including scrap metals, plastics, electronic waste, used oil and fly ash. At present, these are allowed to enter the country through a DENR administrative order issued in 2013.

“We need to come up with safeguards on the importation of recyclable materials,” Antiporda said in an interview.

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The moratorium period, he said, will allow deliberations among government agencies, industries and other concerned parties on crafting long-term policy for accepting scrap materials, which mostly come from rich countries.

“We have to take into consideration as well the industries that benefit from these waste-related imports,” he added.

Antiporda said processed engineered fuels (PEF) would also be covered by the order. In May, shipments from Australia containing these materials were intercepted at a port in Misamis Oriental province.

These materials were reportedly going to be used in cement production.

Calls for stronger policies concerning the illegal entry of waste came after President Duterte lashed out at Canada  for its delay in taking back the 2,500 tons of trash wrongly declared as recyclable scrap when it was shipped to the Philippines some five years ago.

The containers, which were left in the country’s ports for much of that time, were found to contain household garbage, including used adult diapers, unsorted plastics and electronic waste.

Similar waste imports were found to have arrived in the country from other parts of the world, including South Korea and Hong Kong.

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In response to the Duterte administration’s call to ban foreign waste, the Bureau of Customs has formed a unit to monitor the entry of such hazardous materials.

Environmental groups have been pressuring wealthy countries against dumping their garbage elsewhere, including countries in Southeast Asia.

Greenpeace Southeast Asia-Philippines has pointed out the “pattern of misdeclaration, falsified documents, fake business and loose regulatory systems” that allow the illegal entry of garbage into the country.

EcoWaste Coalition also called for the country’s ratification of the Basel Ban Amendment, which would prohibit the export of hazardous waste from rich countries to developing nations for any reason, including recycling.

Top waste exporters were identified as the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Japan.

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TAGS: Benny Antiporda, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, temporary order against waste imports
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