A Roman Catholic Church leader here has expressed his support to moves banning the entry of garbage from other countries.
“I would agree to that,” Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma said Thursday, referring to the looming ratification of the Basel Ban Amendment by the Senate.
The amendment is a provision in the Basel Convention that prohibits the exportation of toxic trash from developed to developing countries, even for recycling purposes.
The Basel Convention on the control of transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and their disposal was adopted by several countries on March 22, 1989 in response to the public outrage over reports that third-world nations have become dumping ground of toxic garbage from abroad.
The Philippines signed the Basel Convention on March 22, 1989, which was then approved by Congress on Oct. 21, 1993. It entered into force in the country on Jan. 19, 1994.
The Philippines has yet to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment.
Environmental groups such as Greenpeace Philippines and EcoWaste Coalition have been pushing for the ratification of the amendment following the arrival of thousands of tons of garbage from Canada to Luzon, and from Australia, Hong Kong, and South Korea to Northern Mindanao.
Ledesma said the government must take a hardline stance on the transshipment of wastes from other countries, with or without the amendment.
“It should be a general policy of the government not to accept waste matters from other countries,” the prelate said in an interview on the sidelines of the opening program of the three-day 3rd Philippine Environment Summit held in this city.
Ledesma added the Duterte administration must hasten the return of the trash from South Korea to its country of origin and to encourage the recycling of local wastes for various uses.
In a separate interview, Juan Miguel Cuna, Department of Environment and Natural Resources undersecretary for policy, planning and international affairs, said the agency is still in the process of studying the impact of the amendment to businesses engaged in recycling waste materials.
Government officials and civilian advocates converged here for the three-day 3rd Philippine Environment Summit, which kicked off Wednesday, Feb. 26 and will end on Feb. 28.
This year’s summit aims showcase programs and projects that contribute to the country’s social and economic advancement while protecting the environment, the event’s co-sponsor, Green Convergence, said in a statement.
“Global warming and its flip side, climate change, has starkly revealed that our current paradigm for thinking and doing is unsustainable, and it is now undeniable that we must respect and return to nature’s principles if we are to continue the gains of cultural evolution and to save the environment on which our lives depend,” said Dr. Angelina P. Galang, president of Green Convergence.
Galang said the summit “proclaims the good news,” referring to the gains the country has made in the environment-saving efforts.
“We celebrate the Philippine environmental movement, and call for the Filipino people to unite in accelerating the drive towards sustainable development,” she said.
The summit will carry the themes of Safe Food, Healthy Environment, and Sustainable Economy. (PNA)