Stop the transfer of toxic wastes from developed to less developed countries!!!

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FILIPINO environmentalists called on all world leaders to ratify the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, also known as the Basil Ban Amendment, to end the practice by  developed countries of transferring their toxic wastes to developing countries like the Philippines.

Led by Franciscan Friar Robert Reyes, Ang Nars Partylist Rep. Leah Paquiz, labor leader Joanna Bernice Coronacion and EcoWaste Coalition’s Aileen Lucero they also renewed their demand to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to implement the “Canadian solution” to remove tons of residual trash illegally sent to the Philippines from Canada under the guise of recycling.

It will be recalled that on the sidelines of the 2015 Asia Pacific Economic (APEC) Summit held in the Philippines, Trudeau stated that a “Canadian solution (was) being developed” to plug the loopholes being used by private companies to ship garbage out of Canada, but skirted the issue of taking back the illegal trash shipments as demanded by various quarters.

“Almost two years have passed since PM Trudeau talked about the so-called ‘Canadian solution’ and the garbage-filled container vans are still languishing in the Port of Manila,” lamented Dr. Leah Paquiz, representative of Ang Nars Partylist in the 16th Congress.

“The real test of the efficacy of the ‘Canadian solution’ is the actual removal of these illegal trash shipments from our territory, the payment for the storage fees and other costs incurred, and the fixing of legal ambiguities that allowed the garbage to be shipped out of Canada,” she pointed out.

“We further demand that both Canada and the Philippines should ratify the Basel Ban Amendment, which prohibits the transboundary movement of hazardous waste from developed to developing countries even for recycling,” she added.

According to an open internet source, the Basel Ban Amendment is an international treaty that was designed to reduce the movements of hazardous wastes between. It also specifically prevent the transfer of hazardous waste from developed to less developed countries (LDCs).

The convention entered into force on 5 May 1992. As of November 2016, 184 states and the European Union are parties to the Convention. Haiti and the United States have have signed the Convention but not ratified it.

For his part, Reyes, said “the overstaying containers of contraband garbage shipments in our port provide a stinking evidence that the touted ‘Canadian solution’ is nothing but a hollow word.”

He also said that “it’s high time for the Prime Minister to do what is just and righteous, as his name Justin stands for, intercede and re-import the unlawful garbage consignments for environmentally-sound disposal in Canada. Nothing less than this will put the dumping scandal to rest.”

Ang pinakamasaklap sa lahat ay ang ituring tayong mga Pilipino na basura o basurahan ng Canada,” Reyes quipped.

Joanna Bernice Coronacion, Deputy Secretary General of the Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa, said “we are awfully disappointed to say the least over the apparent failure of the Canadian government to correct a clear case of environmental injustice committed against our nation and people, especially to our port and waste and sanitation workers who have to deal with the dumped foreign garbage. We could not help but censure PM Trudeau for his lethargic response to resolve the garbage dumping scandal.”

The EcoWaste Coalition, meanwhile, insists that Canada take back its trash.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Image © cnnphilippines.com

“We insist that Canada should take their garbage back now. We hope PM Trudeau is not waiting for the discarded adult diapers, household wastes and mostly plastic residuals to break down in the container vans as that might take hundreds of years. Canada is rich and unquestionably capable of managing its rubbish in a proper manner that will not jeopardize public health and the environment,” Lucero, the coalition’s national coordinator, said.

To put it bluntly, “the Philippine is not Canada’s dumpsite,” said Annie Geron, President of the Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK).

“PM Trudeau, clean as you go. Take your garbage with you!”

A total of 103 shipping containers of mixed household garbage declared as scrap plastics for recycling were exported to the Philippines from Canada in 2013-2014.

The Bureau of Customs seized the said shipments by Chronic Inc. (a Canadian company) to Chronic Plastics (a Filipino company) after being alerted by the Environmental Management Bureau about the misdeclared waste imports.

The authorities eventually charged the consignee for violations of the country’s environmental, tariff and customs laws.

A waste analysis and characterization study conducted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) showed that 64% of the shipments were “bailed municipal solid waste or garbage destined for immediate local disposal and cannot be recycled.”

Such garbage shipments, according to the DENR, “are strictly prohibited to be exported and are classified as Waste No. Y46 listed in Annex II of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal.”

Twenty-six of the garbage-filled container vans from Canada were illegally dumped at the Metro Clark landfill in Capas, Tarlac in June-July 2015, causing public outcry and galvanizing vocal opposition against foreign waste disposal in local landfills.

In June 2016, Judge Tita Bughao Alisuag of the Regional Trial Court of Manila (Branch 1) ordered the return of 50 shipping containers (approximately 1,400 tons) of illegal garbage imports from Canada, stressing that the Philippines is not a “trash bin” and that the dumping incident “should not be made a precedent for other countries to follow.”

As Criminal Case No. 143-11191 was limited only to 50 of the 103 container vans of illegal Canadian trash imports, civil society groups urged Canada, in the spirit of environmental justice, to voluntarily ensure the repatriation of all the illegal garbage shipments.

Ang Nars, EcoWaste Coalition, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, PSLINK and SENTRO are intervenors in the said case versus importer Adelfa Eduardo and customs broker Sherjun Saldon for violation of R.A. 6969, or the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990.

Read More:

PH evironmentalists calls on Manila court to implement order to return hazardous trash to Canada

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