Where is Trudeau’s ‘Canadian solution’?
We, participants and visitors to the 2nd Zero Waste Fair held last Jan. 30-31 at Rizal Park, Manila, appeal to the prime minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, to reclaim his country’s garbage which has been rotting in Philippine ports for years.
Between 2013 and 2014, a total of 103 shipping containers of mixed household garbage from Canada reached our shores, disguised as scrap plastics for recycling. However, a waste characterization study conducted by the Philippine government confirmed that 63.94 percent of the garbage shipments were residuals, meaning they could no longer be recycled and should have been properly disposed of already.
Our government officials, our legislators and our environmental, labor and church leaders, and our fellow citizens, as well as the media, have spoken against this shameless dumping scandal, emphasizing in clear and strong terms that the Philippines is not a landfill and that Canada has no option but to take its garbage back.
When Prime Minister Trudeau visited our country in November 2015 for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit, we expected him to at least announce that Canada would take responsibility for its garbage. He disappointed us when he vaguely stated that a “Canadian solution” is being developed and made no firm declaration to reimport his country’s garbage.
The Canadian ambassador to the Philippines, Neil Reeder, recently said that the illegal trash shipments would be disposed of “in a sustainable manner and in a productive manner,” but he was unclear as to where these would be disposed of. We hope not in the Philippines as this will be totally objectionable and will be met with protests.
We therefore ask Prime Minister Trudeau to pursue, with urgency, his “Canadian solution” such that it will 1) lead to the immediate return of the illegal trash exports for environmentally sound disposal in Canada, 2) pay the Philippines for all the costs incurred, and 3) fix the legal loopholes that allowed the unlawful export of Canadian waste to the Philippines.
We remain hopeful that Prime Minister Trudeau will be different from former prime minister Stephen Harper who was blind and deaf to our plea for environmental justice, and act with firm resolve and speed to get Canada’s garbage back.
We will never allow our country to be treated as Canada’s dump.
—AILEEN LUCERO AND 1,375 OTHER SIGNATORIES, c/o EcoWaste Coalition, [email protected]
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