MANILA, Philippines — Local and international environmental, health and human rights organizations have called on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take action on the Canadian garbage illegally dumped in the Philippines.
Environmental watchdog EcoWaste Coalition sent letters to Trudeau and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna last Jan. 30 to urge the Canadian government to resolve the problem involving 103 containers of mixed garbage shipments, which contain approximately 2,500 tons of garbage.
The mixed waste has been dumped illegally in the Philippines between 2013 and 2014.
“The dumping of Canadian wastes in the Philippines is immoral and illegal,” EcoWaste National Coordinator Aileen Lucero wrote in the letter released to the media on Tuesday.
“We respectfully request that the Canadian government provide a clear and definite date by which it will repatriate its garbage so that this protracted ordeal can finally be promptly ended,” she added.
EcoWaste said the garbage shipments from Canada were declared as scrap plastics for recycling, which violates the DENR Administrative Order stating that “no importation of heterogeneous and unsorted plastic materials shall be allowed” and that “all plastics shall have no trace of toxic materials.”
The environment watchdog also said the shipments violated the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, which states that “the state of export shall ensure that the waste in question are taken back by the exporter or the generator or, if necessary, by itself into the state of export.”
Canadian and international organizations backed the call of EcoWaste to get the garbage repatriated.
In a letter sent to Trudeau on Monday, Feb. 11, the groups also urged the prime minister to ensure the expeditious return of the wastes to Canada and for the country to ratify the Basel Ban amendment.
“We call on you to take the following actions they (EcoWaste Coalition) have requested: 1) ensure the expeditious return to Canada of the wastes illegally exported from Canada and dumped in the Philippines, as is required by the Basel Convention, and 2) ratify the Basel Ban amendment, which would prohibit the export of hazardous waste for any reason from more developed countries to less developed countries,” the groups stated.
They stressed that the treaty on the control of transboundary movements of hazardous waste and their disposal is an important UN agreement “to uphold environmental responsibility and environmental justice.”
The groups that signed the letter include Canadian Environmental Law Association, Basel Action Network, Citizens’ Network on Waste Management, European Society for Environmental and Occupational Medicine, Greenpeace Canada, Health and Environmental Justice Support International, and the Toronto Environment Alliance. /ee
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