By: Rjhay E. Laurea
MANILA — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) declared its support for the law of the Basel Ban Amendment which would ban the export of hazardous waste and other trash from developed to developing countries.
DENR Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampula said that the Basel Ban Amendment would discuss the illegal traffic of imported hazardous waste into the country.
“In previous years, we have strongly fought against the import of hazardous wastes from countries who regarded our country as their dumpsites. Ratifying the Basel Ban Amendment will protect the Philippines from being a destination of hazardous wastes again,” said Sampulna.
In 2019, DENR via its Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) has successfully coordinated the return of 69 global container units of mixed wastes to Canada, which were illegally imported to the Philippines after being declared as waste for recycling.
The DENR-EMB, in tandem with the Bureau of Customs, had also successfully resettle 6,400 metric tons of mixed wastes in Misamis Oriental to South Korea in 2020.
The Basel Ban Amendment, endorsed by the parties to the Basel Convention, would stop the member states of the European Union, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and Liechtenstein, from exporting hazardous wastes either for recovery, treatment, or disposal to developing countries or countries with economies in transition.
The Philippines is Party to the 1989 Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal.
The treaty was approved by Congress on October 21, 1993, and entered into force on January 19, 1994, but the country has yet to pass the Basel Ban Amendment.
Among the wastes covered in the Ban Amendment include those listed in Annex I, Annex II and Annex VIII (List A) of the Basel Convention such as used lead-acid batteries, electrical and electronic tools and metal-bearing sludges.
Non-OECD countries such as the Philippines are granted to export risky wastes to OECD countries if it has no existing capacity to treat and dispose of the known unsafe waste in an environmentally sound manner.
The DENR-EMB may request to the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Convention that the national version of the Ban Amendment will exempt certain risky wastes such as used lead-acid batteries which are being used by the local recycling industry ai mtvn