DENR cautious not to upset waste recycling industry
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY –– The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is cautious about disrupting the country’s waste recycling industry if a ban on the import of toxic trash is imposed by the time the Senate ratifies the Basel Ban Amendment.
Speaking to reporters in the sidelines of the 3rd Philippine Environment Summit here, DENR Undersecretary Juan Miguel Cuna said one of the concerns being discussed by the Environment Management Bureau is the effect on entities involved in the processing of wastes.
“It took us some time because we have a recycling industry,” Cuna said about the fate of the country’s ratification of the Basel Ban Amendment.
Cuna added that the DENR could not just “come up with a policy that will affect an entire sector.”
He said the agency had to find out how many people are employed in this sector and how many will be affected once the amendment is ratified.
But he said the government was moving towards ratifying the amended treaty dealing on trash.
“We are moving towards ratifying the Basel Ban Amendment. I have to double-check, but I think that’s our direction,” Cuna said.
Green groups have long advocated for the Senate to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal.
The Basel Convention entered into force in 1992 while the Basel Ban Amendment entered into force on December 5 last year.
The Basel Ban Amendment prohibits the export of hazardous wastes for any reason, including recycling, from rich countries.
Earlier, Greenpeace Philippines worried that if the country is not able to ratify the treaty soonest, it would be “at greater risk of being the world’s dumping ground and destination of choice” of hazardous wastes from developed countries.
At present, tons of illegally shipped trash from South Korea, which include hospital wastes, are still sitting in an abandoned waste recycling facility in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental, awaiting reshipment to its origin.
Greenpeace, along with EcoWaste Coalition, noted that according to international law experts, parties that are waste exporters could still keep exporting wastes if they do not ratify the Basel Ban Amendment, but only to countries that have not ratified the instrument.
The ratification would promote clean production, stop toxic technologies, and prevent governments and companies from circumventing the recycling loophole in the Basel Convention, Greenpeace added./lzb
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.