Toxic Trade News / 7 June 2006
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Importing waste for a change
by Joel E. Zurbano, Manila Standard Today (Philippines)
7 June 2006 – Bureau of Customs agents have impounded at the Port of Manila 13 container vans of iron and copper scraps from China believed to be hazardous waste.

The shipment, reckoned Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service Dir. Jairus Paguntalan, arrived on s/s Uni Glory last October consigned to Jowood Industries.

Documents indicated the cargo was declared as mill scales but upon laboratory analysis by the Philippine Nuclear Institute on the samples, they were black powder with iron and copper scraps, prohibited for transport under the Basel Convention on the control of transboundary movement and disposal of hazardous waste.

Reports stated that the consignee had claimed the shipment was exported to the mainland but was returned for lack of an environmental certificate. Paguntalan, however, is convinced that the shipment owners merely tried to cover-up the contents and used falsified documents.

Not the first

Customs operatives led by Teodoro Sagaral seized the 284 tons of waste materials after port officials issued an alert order May 17 covering shipments of questionable origin.

“This is not the first time that we seized that kind of shipment. We have also seized 90 container vans from Japan during the time of Commissioner Guillermo Parayno in mid-’90s, and two containers during the time of Commissioner Alberto Lina,” Paguntalan told Standard Today.

He added: “Now we know that importing waste materials or garbage continue to happen in our country despite a law banning them. Some of our countrymen allow this to happen for money.”

Deputy Commissioner Celso Templo said they are investigating Jowood Industries and have placed it on the bureau’s watchlist on top of recommending administrative and criminal charges against those who facilitated the papers of the shipment.

The Customs Intelligence and Enforcement Group chief likewise commended Paguntalan and his team for the interception of the banned shipment.

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