MANILA, April 13 — Environmental and health advocates from various groups asked all presidential candidates for the May 9 polls to put the closure of the Canadian garbage controversy among their top priorities if elected.
At the General Assembly of the EcoWaste Coalition held last week in Quezon City, over 100 participants from 68 groups resolved to ask the next president “to order the return of the illegal waste shipments to Canada in her/his first 100 days in office.”
It will be recalled that a total of 103 shipping containers of largely residual household garbage, declared as scrap plastics for recycling, were illegally dumped into to the Philippines from Canada between 2013-2014, causing an uproar.
To ensure that such a blatant dumping incident in violation of national and international laws will not be repeated, the environmentalists also asked the incoming president “to draw up robust policies and regulations” to combat illegal waste trade.
“We appeal to our nation’s next president to bring this long drawn-out trash row to its just conclusion by sending the illegal shipments back to Canada,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Local government units (LGUs) have explicitly rejected the disposal of Canada’s garbage in landfills operating within their jurisdictions for environmental, health and legal reasons and we stand by them,” she added.
According to a resolution adopted at the assembly, “it is extremely important to put the Canadian garbage dumping scandal to rest and for environmental justice to be served.”
The resolution underscored that “the disposal of the Canadian garbage in local landfills, cement kilns and waste-to-energy facilities will be totally wrong and unacceptable.”
Last November 2015, visiting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the fringe of the APEC Summit assured the Filipino people that a “Canadian solution” is being developed to address the garbage dumping scandal.
Some 1,375 university students in January 2016 petitioned Trudeau to urgently fulfill the so-called “Canadian solution,” stressing that such a solution should include the immediate return of the illegal trash for environmentally sound disposal in Canada.
“Canada, a highly developed country, should have no problem dealing with their soiled diapers, spent electronics, plastic junks and other rubbish right in their own backyard. There is no justification at all for their refuse to remain in our soil to be buried or burned,” she noted.
“We hope our next President will do what is logical and fair for our country and people: ship back the atrocious garbage to Canada,” she said. (PNA)