May 18, 2024

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources expressed its support for the ratification of the Basel Ban Amendment, which would prohibit the export of hazardous waste and other trash from developed to developing countries.

DENR Acting Sec. Jim O. Sampulna said that the Basel Ban Amendment would address the illegal traffic of imported hazardous waste into the Philippines.

“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 through its Environmental Management Bureau had successfully coordinated the return of 69 international container units of mixed wastes to Canada, which were illegally imported to the Philippines after being declared as waste plastics for recycling.

The DENR-EMB, in cooperation with the Bureau of Customs, had also successfully repatriated 6,400 metric tons of mixed wastes in Misamis Oriental to South Korea in 2020.

The Basel Ban Amendment, adopted by the parties to the Basel Convention, would restrain 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 ratified by Congress on Oct. 21, 1993 and entered into force on Jan. 19, 1994, but the country has yet to ratify 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 equipment and metal-bearing sludges. 

 Non-OECD countries such as the Philippines are allowed to export hazardous wastes to OECD countries if it has no existing capacity to treat and dispose the specific hazardous 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 hazardous wastes such as used lead-acid batteries which are being utilized by the local recycling industry. – Press release