Philippine officials inspect containers filled with garbage at the Manila port.
PHOTO BY BAN TOXICS
MANILA – A massive shipment of rotting garbage is now heading to Canada as the Philippines drove home a point on a long-running row over the issue.
Garbage-filled containers, totaling 69, dumped illegally in the Philippines between 2013 and 2014, were loaded onto a vessel that sailed from Subic port on Friday (May 31) to Vancouver.
The containers were expected to reach the Canadian city in a month.
For years, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has demanded that Canada takes back its trash. Canada contended that the shipment did not have government consent.
According to reports, Ontario-based plastics exporter Chronic Inc. had sent the containers to the Philippines, mislabeling them as plastics for recycling.
Upon inspection, however, the shipment contained a mixture of plastics, paper, metals and household garbage, including adult diapers and kitchen waste.
Now that the trash is heading back to Canada, the question remains on what will happen to the garbage.
The City of Vancouver said it will dispose of “approximately 1,500 tonnes” of the waste at its Waste-to-Energy Facility in Burnaby.
In a statement, the city said that the facility was chosen because of its proximity to Vancouver.
Jack Froese of Vancouver’s Zero Waste Committee said that “strict handling and disposal criteria must be followed whenever there is a risk of biological or agricultural contamination.”
Froese said the facility is the best option for trash disposal because there is no potential for contact with wildlife and no potential for garbage to leave the facility.
The Canadian government said it is looking at legal options against export company, Chronic Inc. Officials, however, say the pursuit of legal penalties may be difficult as the company is no longer operating.
Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said that part of the solution is to ensure that companies illegally exporting waste to other countries will be held responsible.
McKenna said the government will be “announcing different measures soon”, but did not provide further details.
Under the UN Basel Convention, developed nations are banned from sending toxic or hazardous waste to developing nations without informed consent.
Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has withdrawn his order for the recall of the Filipino ambassador and consuls to Canada.
“To our recalled posts, get your flights back. Thanks and sorry for the trouble you went through to drive home a point,” Locsin said.
In April, Duterte gave Canada an ultimatum to take back its trash. Canada missed its deadline, prompting the Philippines to recall its envoys in Canada on May 16. GAD/Expat Media
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