A Congresswoman on Saturday asked the leadership of the House of Representatives to ban the importation of electronic wastes or e-wastes.
Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Emmi de Jesus pushed for the passage of House Bill 5901 as the House Committee on Ecology started deliberations on the measure.
De Jesus said it was important for government to regulate and manage e-wastes in the country especially in light of garbage shipments by Canada and Japan to the country.
“Without a mechanism that will penalize the importation of ‘end-of-life’ electronic gadgets, the Philippines will always be at risk of being a dumpsite of electronic wastes by developed economies,” De Jesus said.
“The ironic thing is that under neoliberal globalization, we manufacture the semiconductors and chips of cellphones and other gadgets, ship them to advanced economies for assembly, then receive them back as surplus commodities and e-wastes,” she added.
HB 5901 prohibits and penalizes the importation of electrical and electronic equipment that have reached “end-of-life,” invoking the Basel Convention which controls the transboundary movement and disposal of hazardous wastes.
While the government through the Environment department has initiatives in recycling e-wastes, De Jesus said these were not enough to protect Filipinos and the environment from the harmful effects of e-wastes.
“With HB 5901, the national and local governments are directed to establish facilities for e-waste collection, treatment, and disposal, and to provide incentives for e-waste recycling,” De Jesus said.
“Toxic metals and chemicals from e-wastes easily seep through the environment and enter the food chain, especially now that we’re into the rainy season... Clearly, there should be government intervention on this,” De Jesus added.
The Philippines is generating 127,000 metric tons of e-waste per year or around 1.3 kilos of e-waste per person, according to the 2014 United Nations University global e-waste report.