Jun 3, 2019

After more than five years since its arrival, Canada’s waste—69 remaining shipping containers out of 103—is finally getting shipped back to where it came from in the first place.

The shipment has been en route a week after President Duterte ordered its return. In a news conference in April, the president angrily said “I cannot understand why they’re making us a dump site. I will not allow that kind of s***.” He also threatened to declare war against Canada if it doesn’t take back its trash which contains 2,450 tons of nonrecyclable trash exported by Ontario-based Chronic Inc. to Manila through two Filipino companies, Chronic Plastic and Live Green Enterprise, from 2013 to 2014.

The President gave a deadline for Canada, May 15, otherwise, he said the country will take matters into its own hands by hiring a private shipping company to return the trash, which it ended up doing last week.

While the move is lauded by some, environmental groups like Greenpeace says there is more to be done to avoid the arrival of foreign wastes into the country in the first place. According to the organization, there is more trash from countries like South Korea, Australia, and Hong Kong that still needs to be dealt with.

“These shipments are likely only the tip of the iceberg, and we don’t know if there are other waste shipments that have not yet been discovered,” Greenpeace said in a statement.

The organization also made a symbolic move by sending a message that reads “Pilipinas hindi tambakan ng basura!” along with the shipment which will likely reach Canada’s waters by the end of June.

According to Greenpeace, this will only stop once the government signs the Basel Ban Amendment, a decision originally drafted in 1994, which prohibits “all transboundary movements of hazardous wastes which are destined for final disposal” as well as “hazardous wastes destined for recovery or recycling operations” to and from signatory countries.

“We will continue to be a dumping ground for waste importations unless the Philippine government bans the entry of foreign waste to our shores and ratifies the Basel Ban Amendment,” Greenpeace said. “Illegal waste dumping to developing countries should be stopped at all costs.”

The organization also made an online petition to urge President Duterte to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment, which you can sign here.


Header photo courtesy of Metro Clark Waste Management Corp.

Read more:

After Manila’s diplomatic tantrum, Canada’s toxic trash leaves on May 30

South Korea’s taking back their garbage but Canada has yet to follow suit

Will Canada take back its trash this time?

TAGS: basel ban amendment Canada trash Duterte foreign waste Greenpeace