MANILA, Philippines — With Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expected to attend the Association Southeast Asian Nations Summit here this month, environmental, health and labor groups renewed their calls for him to take back trash from his country that has been rotting at the Port of Manila for several years.
Aileen Lucero, coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition, said “Trudeau’s action is crucial to remove all barriers to Canada’s re-importation of its own garbage that were exported to our country not for recycling, but for disposal.”
“We’re running out of room for our own garbage and the dumping of waste from overseas is only making the situation worst. Canada is rich and undeniably capable of handling its own refuse in a safe manner,” she said.
“The prolonged delay in returning the reeking trash to Canada is patently unjust for our country and people,” Dr. Leah Paquiz, former Ang Nars representative, said.
She said it was time for Trudeau to “decisively act to stop waste dumping, including ratifying the Basel Ban Amendment, which prohibits the movement of hazardous waste from developed to developing countries for any reason even for recycling.”
Josua Mata, secretary general of the Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa and Progresibong Manggagawa said that, aside from taking back the garbage, Canada should also pay the Philippines “for the costs incurred in dealing with Canada’s discarded adult diapers, domestic wastes, plastics and other residuals.”
From 2013 to 2014, 103 shipping containers of mixed household garbage declared as “scrap plastics for recycling” arrived in the country. The waste was shipped by Canadian firm Chronic Inc. to the Filipino company Chronic Plastics.
It turned out that 64 percent of the waste was residual garbge that could no longer be recycled.
The Environmental Management Bureau alerted the Bureau of Customs to the misdeclared waste. The BOC seized the shipmens and the consignee was chargd for violating environmntal, tariffs and customs laws.
Despite this, between June and July 2015, 26 of the container vans of garbage were illegally disposed at the Metro Clark landfill in Capas, Tarlac.
In November of that year, Trudeau, who attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Manila, said a “Canadian solution (was) being developed” to fix the loopholes that allowed the garbage to be shipped her but did not commit to taking the waste back.
In June last year, Judge Tita Bughao Alisuag of Manila Regional Trial Court branch 1 ordered 50 of the containers, or some 1,400 tons, of the garbage returned to Canada, noting that the Philippines is not a “trash bin.”