The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has promised to take swift action to deal with the tons of garbage shipped to the Philippines from South Korea.

“Hindi natin hahayaang humaba ang [isyung] ito,” DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and LGU Concerns Benny D. Antiporda said, referring to the recent discovery of the garbage shipment at the Mindanao Container Terminal (MCT) in Misamis Oriental province.

According to Antiporda, DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu wanted the matter “resolved as soon as possible.”

Antiporda said the DENR, through its Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), is now conducting a waste analysis and characterization study of the shipment that was wrongfully declared as “plastic synthetic flakes.”

He said “appropriate action” will be taken once the results of the study are released, possibly within this week.

If the contents of the shipment are found to be hazardous, Antiporda said the DENR will recommend its return to the country of origin, as well as the filing of administrative and criminal charges against those involved.

The shipment was consigned to South Korean company Verde Soko II Industrial Corp., which operates a 4.5 hectare waste recycling facility within the Phividec Industrial Estate in Tagoloan town.

Containing about 5,100 tons of garbage, the shipment arrived at the MCT on board MV Affluent Ocean last July 21.

Initial findings showed that the shipment contained used dextrose tubes, used diapers, batteries, bulbs and electronic equipment.

Upon verification with the EMB, the shipment was not covered by any DENR-issued importation clearance. The consignee, Verde Soko, is not even registered as an importer of recyclable materials.

Under the DENR policy, registered importers are required to secure the necessary import clearances from the DENR at least 30 days before the actual importation. ###