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Canada’s unethical stand

12:46 AM May 20, 2015

If there’s “nothing toxic” in the 50 container vans of illegal garbage shipment from Canada as claimed by Canadian Ambassador Neil Reeder, why can’t Canada simply take them back and put this stinking hullabaloo to a close? (“Canadian trash to be treated in PH, says envoy,” News, 5/17/15).

If the Canadian government had a “complete study” conducted on the content of the unwelcomed garbage delivery as he stated, may we ask Reeder if all the 50 garbage-filled containers were duly and comprehensively examined to determine their toxicity, including the chemical composition of the baled mixed wastes, which may contain chlorinated compounds and electronic scraps?

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With President Aquino himself confirming that “the wastes are considered hazardous (and) pose a risk to public health,” we find it hard to figure out why Reeder is hell-bent on imposing their perilous garbage on us, and why our own government is conceding to such arm-twisting that, from all indications, is an onslaught to our dignity as a sovereign nation.

The local disposal options being mulled for Canada’s garbage via cement kiln coprocessing or landfilling, which in our views are unacceptably flawed and unethical, would further complicate this long-drawn-out dumping controversy, raise pertinent legal questions and, if implemented, exacerbate the environmental pollution that our communities have to live with.

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Even the contentious Administrative Order No. 2010-06 issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources on the use of alternative fuels and raw materials in cement kilns lists “unsegregated municipal solid wastes” as “waste materials not acceptable for co-processing.” As it will be unlawful to co-process the mixed wastes, we are curious if this administrative order will be revised to bend to Canada’s pressure, or if the Canadian and Filipino proponents for such a “local solution” will segregate the wastes themselves before these are disposed of in cement kilns, landfills or waste-to-energy incinerators.

With due respect to the people of Canada, many of whom support our stance that the Philippines is not a dumping ground, we urge Reeder and his government to re-import the illegal garbage shipment for environmentally-sound disposal in Canada.

As for our own government, we urge President Aquino to stand up and fight for environmental justice and tell Canada and the world, with conviction and courage, that our country is not a global trash bin.

As Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago has wisely warned: “The decision to process the waste in the Philippines upon the request of the Canadian government sets a dangerous precedent for other countries to dump their waste in Philippine soil with impunity.”

—AILEEN LUCERO, coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition, [email protected]

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TAGS: Canada, DENR, EcoWaste Coalition, garbage, Neil Reeder
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