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14 November 2018, Manila, Philippines – On November 10, a news report revealed that tons of misdeclared plastic wastes arrived in the Philippines from South Korea in July 2018. Wrongfully declared as ‘plastic synthetic flakes’, the shipment was discovered to be tons of mixed waste, including plastic and other materials. According to the same news report, 5,100 metric tons of plastic and other waste materials are still being impounded at the Mindanao International Container Terminal pending explanation from the consignee, Verde Soko Phil. Industrial Corporation.

Greenpeace Philippines campaigner Abigail Aguilar, said:

“This is reminiscent of the Canada waste dumping case, which happened five years ago, and we say that we have enough. No amount of profit will justify the amount of garbage we receive from rich countries, be it from Canada or South Korea.

“While the Philippines itself is reeling from the amount of plastic waste we are generating, it is distressing that other countries are still looking at us to dispose of their wastes. In 2017, South Korea exported 4,397 tons of plastic waste to Philippines. This year, from January to September, South Korea has already exported 11,588 tons of plastic waste to the country, which is more than double compared to the previous year [1].

“The world’s addiction to single use plastic and our penchant for overconsumption has led developed countries to treat developing nations as dumping grounds. And yet, when it comes to ‘naming and shaming’ of countries that pollute the ocean, the world looks at us. This is a travesty of justice and together with a whole nation, we express indignation on this case. We are telling South Korea to address this with urgency and haste by taking back their wastes and by putting a stop to all waste exports emanating from their country.

“Furthermore, the world needs reminding that the Philippines and other developing countries are not dumping grounds. Globally, we have to address our overconsumption and single-use plastic addiction not by sending wastes to other countries, but through reduction of single-use plastic production. Recycling, whether done in-country or through waste exports, has become an ugly excuse to keep wastes out of their citizen’s eyes and minds. Indeed, revelations such as this remind us that recycling doesn’t work, and reduction is the key that will get the world out of this plastic mess.

“We laud the Bureau of Customs and its agencies for this discovery and disclosure. We call the Philippine government to prove that we are not a dumping site by pushing for the return of these waste-filled shipments and filing of cases to those who are behind these misdeclared cargo.”

Notes to the editor:

[1] Korean Customs Service. https://unipass.customs.go.kr/csp/index.do

For more information, contact:

Angelica Carballo-Pago, Media Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia – Philippines
angelica.pago@greenpeace.org, phone +63 949 889 1332

Greenpeace East Asia, Seoul Communications Team
press.kr@greenpeace.org, phone +82 (0) 10 7712 3144