P-Noy, tell Canada to take back trash
President Benigno Aquino III will be in Canada May 7-9, 2015, for a state visit “to further strengthen the bonds between the two countries” and to “discuss cooperation on a range of issues,” as news reports put it, quoting Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
For us in the zero waste movement, we see this welcome event a good opportunity for President Aquino to sincerely discuss the issue of the already 676-day-old (by then) Canada garbage still on Philippine soil and to kindly request the prime minister to take Canada’s trash back as they should rightfully do.
As an aide-mémoire for the President, the following pointers should serve the purpose:
- In July 2013, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) seized about 50 40-foot container vans of “heterogeneous plastic scrap materials” shipped by Chronic Inc., a private company in Ontario (as per shipment declaration).
- An inspection conducted by the BOC and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources found that the vans contained mixed wastes, comprising of nonrecyclable plastics, used adult diapers, broken bottles and glasses, waste paper, household/kitchen waste, among others, contrary to the shipment declaration.
- The importation violates Republic Act No. 6969 or the “Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990.” It also constitutes illegal trade as per the “Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste and Their Disposal,” which prohibits “movement of mixed waste between countries… to protect human health and environment.”
- The shipment is piling up storage and demurrage charges, and the vans’ contents are leaking, thus posing serious health and environmental hazards.
We hope that our good President will take this valid issue with him as he flies to Canada anytime soon.
We reiterate our call: “Pick up your garbage, Canada. Give us the decency and respect we so deserve as a nation. Do your share as a signatory to the Basel Convention. Our homeland is not your garbage bin.”
—AILEEN LUCERO, national coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition, [email protected]
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