Canada Commits to Promptly Retrieve Trash Containers Exported to the Philippines
The Philippines has recalled its ambassador to Canada after the latter failed to retrieve the trash it shipped to Manila six years ago from Ottawa. Canada missed the May 15 deadline set by President Rodrigo Duterte, prompting the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to recall the Philippines’ diplomats in the North American country.
Between 2013-2014, private Canadian company Chronic Inc. and its Philippine-based consignees transported 103 container vans full of waste declared to be recyclable plastic to the Port of Manila.
“The container vans were falsely declared to contain homogenous plastic scrap material when in fact these shipments contained heterogeneous waste including baled household garbage,” according to the legal non-profit organization Pacific Center for Environmental Law and Litigation (CELL).
In an interview with the Toronto Star, the owner of Chronic Inc. denied shipping hazardous waste to the Philippines, saying the vans contained 95% plastic and materials that can be found in a standard household recycling bin.
According to CELL, Canada violated the Basel Convention — an international treaty designed to reduce the shipments of hazardous wastes on international territories, in an effort to protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects of hazardous wastes. Both Canada and the Philippines are signatories to the convention.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday that the Canadian government has been working “very closely” over the past few months with Philippine authorities to resolve the issue.
“Canada is disappointed by this decision to recall the Philippine ambassador and consuls general. However, we will continue to closely engage with the Philippines to ensure a swift resolution of this important issue,” Guillaume Bérubé, spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada, told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an email.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the recall order was executed to persuade Canada to speed up the reclaim of its trash containers.