MANILA, Philippines — It has been more than four years since Canada shipped 50 containers of its garbage to the Philippines, including kitchen trash and used adult diapers.
And the big question for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is now in the Philippines for the Asean Summit, is if he could do something to finally move Canada’s stink out of the country.
On Tuesday, during a press briefing in Pasay City, Trudeau said that, “Even though it originally came from Canada, we had legal barriers and restrictions that prevented us from being able to take it back. Those regulations and those impediments have now been addressed, so it is now theoretically possible to get it back,” he said at a press briefing at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.
But the Canadian leader clarified that the garbage dumping was a commercial transaction that “did not involve governments.”
Nevertheless, Trudeau said he had discussed the issue with President Rodrigo Duterte and other Philippine authorities and assured them the commitment of the Canadian government to address the problem.
“I’m happy to commit to you all now that Canada is very much engaged in finding a solution on that,” he said.
“I expressed to President Duterte the assurance of my officials both here and the Philippines and back in Canada that we will continue to work on this and hopefully resolve the situation,” he later added.
Trudeau earlier said during a regional gathering in 2015 held in the Philippines that a “Canadian solution (was) being developed” to fix the loopholes that allowed the garbage to be shipped in the country.
He has been criticized by local environmental groups for the Canadian government’s inaction in addressing the shipment of the country’s garbage in the Philippines.
In June 2013, a shipment of 50 container vans – 18 of which contained waste, including household garbage, plastic bags, and adult diapers – began arriving in the Philippines from Canada.
The Bureau of Customs decided to open the container vans stored at the Manila International Container Port in January 2014, which was when they discovered that the contents were a far cry from the recyclable plastic scraps based on the declaration.
In the same year, about 16 of the container vans were sent to Subic Port to ease the congested Port of Manila.
In September this year, environmental groups noted that a Manila court order for the importers from Canada to ship back the waste has remained unheeded since June 2016.