A massive shipment of Canadian trash is causing a stink in the Philippines, where local activists say it was illegally offloaded.
The 50 industrial containers of household trash, including kitchen garbage and used adult diapers, first arrived in the Philippines in 2013, and have been sitting in the port of Manila until a few days ago when, some of the containers were taken to be dumped at a landfill in Tarlac province.
Medilyn Manibo along with 36,000 people signed an online petition telling Canada to take back its garbage.
“It’s really a clear sign of irresponsibility on the side of the Canadian government to let this just be dumped and the Filipinos should not let this be dumped in the Philippines and be processed here,” she said.
The owner of the recycling company that shipped the containers, Chronic Inc., has denied all allegations that he sent household trash.
Jim Makris insists his shipment contained only recyclables, mostly plastics, sent to be processed at a local recycling plant he owns.
But customs officials discovered they were filled with various household wastes including used adult diapers.
In March and again in May this year, activists held protests in Manila calling for the garbage to be shipped back to Canada.
“Under the Basel Convention, which we’ve been invoking, this dumping is illegal and prohibited, said Anna Kapunan is with the group Ban Toxins that is leading the protests
The Basel Convention is an international agreement were Canada and the Philippines are signatories.
It aims to prevent the transfer of hazardous materials from developed countries into less developed ones
The Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs recently announced that it will lodge a diplomatic protest with the Canadian government.
While protests continued, some of the garbage was dumped in the Tarlac province before local officials stopped it.
Charges have been filed against the local importer Chronics Incorporated in the Philippines, but no charges have been laid in Canada.
Ban Toxins officer Anna Kapunan hopes this load will be the last.
“The worst scenario would be the garbage would be disposed here in the Philippines and it will serve as a precedent for all other shipment to come and that’s what we’re trying to prevent.”
Lawmakers have filed a resolution in the House of Representatives to investigate the case.
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