Firm sued for importing Canadian waste

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

SMUGGLING charges were filed before the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday against a Valenzuela City-based company for importing garbage from Canada that was passed off as scrap materials for recycling.

Charged by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) for violating the Revised Penal Code, Tariff and Customs Code and the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste Control Act (Republic Act 6969) were Adelfa Eduardo, owner of Chronic Plastics and the company's licensed customs brokers Leonora Flores and Sherjun Saldon.

RA 6969 bans the importation of hazardous materials into the Philippines.

"There were violations in the process for importation and misdeclaration made on paper. Moreover, we must be mindful of the threat to public health and safety that these wastes could bring to our people," said Customs Commissioner John Sevilla.

Records showed 50 container vans arrived in six batches from June to August 2013 at the Manila International Container Port, which were seized by customs operatives after discovering household garbage and adult diapers.

The BOC said Chronic Plastics, which is engaged in the sorting and selling of recyclable materials from Canada, pegged the value of 19 containers at P3.9 million.

Sevilla said they will order the firm to return the trash back to Canada.

Canadian activists earlier expressed dismay and embarrassment over the incident.

"The government of Canada has created such horrible collection methods that the materials collected are often so badly contaminated many of the greedy haulers think they can export our mess onto other nations," said Buddy Boyd of Zero Waste Canada.

The group, along with Manila-based Eco Waste Coalition, also asked the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to inform its counterpart Environment Canada for the violation and file charges against the Canadian shipper Chronic Inc. and Chronic Plastics.

Chronic Inc. owner Jim Makris denied the allegation, saying the contents of the shipment were 95 percent plastic with some aluminum and paper.

"Anybody who's in plastic, who knows plastic, will tell you. It's the stupidest thing I’ve heard of in my entire life," newspaper The Toronto Star quoted Makris as saying on February 13.

Makris started his recycling business in the country nearly a year ago, according to the report. (Sunnex)

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