Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday assured that his government is addressing the issue on the shipment of tons of Canadian waste to the country, which has been the subject of a couple of diplomatic protests filed by Manila.
It must be recalled that in 2013, about 1,375 tons in 55 container vans of waste from Canada declared as recyclable plastic scraps were impounded by the Bureau of Customs. It was declared as contraband and environmental activists called for its return to Canada. Later, left to rot in ports for two years. Then the Philippine government has certified that the waste are not toxic and ordered its disposal in a landfill in the province of Tarlac in central Luzon.
Manila has conveyed its objection of the shipment to the Canadian government through at least two diplomatic notes, but Canada has refused to take action, insisting it was not backed by its government and that it was a private transaction.
“I think going forward we need to make sure that if a situation like this arise again, the Canadian government has more power to actually demand action from companies responsible,” he said in a briefing at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) International Media Center.
“I have obviously been made aware of the situation and I’ve also been told that there is a Canadian solution in the process of being developed,” Trudeau told a press conference.
Trudeau acknowledged that the incident in the Philippines exposed a problem that needs fixing within Canada’s own legislation “that we’re going to lean into and make sure it happens.”
“I believe there are loopholes here that were allowed to be skirted that we need to make sure we close, both for Canada’s interest and for our good relationships with our neighbors,” he said.
In the previous diplomatic notes, the Philippines urged the Canadian government to assist with the re-exportation of the containers.
The Philippines’ Environment Department and the Bureau of Customs have called on Canada to “re-visit” its domestic regulations on the illegal export of waste to other countries and to remind it of its commitments under international treaties, specifically the Basel Convention.
The convention prevents the movement of hazardous waste between nations, specifically its transfer from developed to least developed states.
Trudeau vowed not to let the Philippine incident happen again. (PNA / Michaela del Callar / Joann S. Villanueva)
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