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Will Canada take back its trash this time?

Will Canada take back its trash this time?

News and photos of Canadian Prime Minister visiting a Jollibee branch in Tondo and leaving with a take-out meal blew up the internet on Sunday. The leader was in the country for the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.

But a more pressing matter resurfaced. Remember Canada’s 2,500 tons of garbage that has been festering on Philippine soil for four years now, all thanks to the Ontario-based company that shipped it here?

Even environmental organization Greenpeace said in a statement on Monday that his “public relations antics cannot cover the stinking Canadian waste issue as long as it is left rotting on our ports.”

But in a press conference on the sidelines at the Summit, Trudeau assured that he and President Rodrigo Duterte discussed the matter during their informal talks earlier today.

“We also discussed the garbage issue which has been a long-standing irritant and I committed to him as I am happy to commit to you all now that Canada is very much engaged in finding a solution on that,” he said.

What took the Canadian leader to act on it so long are the legal regulations that prevented them from being able to receive the waste back. “We had legal barriers and restrictions that prevented us from taking it back, but that’s done now,” he said.

What could he do now to complete the process? Perhaps oversee the remaining steps needed like the payment of the shipping and considering the consequences of this transaction. 

Nevertheless, like what Abigail Aguilar, campaigner of Greenpeace in Southeast Asia wrote, we hope that Trudeau won’t let this pile of garbage “become Canada’s legacy in the Philippines.”


Header image courtesy of Ace Morandante/Presidential Photo

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