By Chito Chavez
Environmental group EcoWaste Coalition on Wednesday has scored the non-departure to Canada of the 69 container vans of rotting Canadian garbage still languishing in the Manila and Subic ports since 2013.
Expressing extreme disgust, Aileen Lucero EcoWaste Coalition national coordinator demanded the Canadian government to take back their illegal garbage.
“We are grossly disappointed that the illegal garbage imports from Canada have yet to take their trip back home,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
“If the Canadian wastes will not leave our ports today, when?” she asked.
However, Lucero remained ‘’hopeful that this prolonged garbage feud will be over soon as this is what the chief executive and the entire nation want”.
To recall, President Rodrigo Duterte on April 23 chastised Canada for its inaction and threatened “war” against the North American country for the nearly 2,450 tons of mostly residual garbage illegally shipped to the Philippines from 2013 to 2104 in violation of the Basel Convention.
“We are counting on Canada’s full cooperation in fulfillment of its obligations under the Basel Convention to take back the illegal traffic wastes that were shipped from the Port of Vancouver,” she added.
According to the Department of Finance, “bureaucratic red tape in the Canadian government has slowed down the process of re-exporting the trash back to their country.”
“As the re-export of the Canadian garbage is no ordinary transaction that can be delayed, we wrote to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to appeal for the expedited processing of the import permits,” said Lucero.
“We appeal to your government to give priority consideration to the processing of the required documents such as the import permits,” wrote Lucero to Trudeau last May 7.
Lucero noted in the said letter “the removal of your wastes in our land will put this long standing dumping controversy to a close, and open up a new chapter in our nations’ bilateral relations”.
On May 10, in response to the EcoWaste Coalition’s letter, M. Bredeson, Executive Correspondence Officer for the Prime Minister’s Office, said: “Please be assured that your comments have been carefully noted. As your email has also been sent to the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, I am certain that she will have appreciated receiving this information.”
As soon as the re-export date has been confirmed, the Quezon City based group will organize a send-off activity themed “Never Again” to celebrate what it considers as a people’s victory for the rule of law and environmental justice.