Canada taps firm to ship out its garbage from Philippines by end of June

Paterno Esmaquel II
Canada taps firm to ship out its garbage from Philippines by end of June

Rappler

'The removal will be complete by the end of June, as the waste must be safely treated to meet Canadian safety and health requirements,' says the Canadian government

MANILA, Philippines – Canada has announced that it has hired a company to ship out its garbage from the Philippines by the end of June, after the Philippines recalled its ambassador and consuls to Canada due to the waste shipment issue.

Canada’s minister of environment and climate change, Catherine McKenna, “announced that the Government of Canada awarded a contract to Bolloré Logistics Canada to safely bring the waste back to Canada as soon as possible.”

“The company will begin preparation for shipping in the coming days. The removal will be complete by the end of June, as the waste must be safely treated to meet Canadian safety and health requirements,”  the Canadian government said in a statement Wednesday, May 22.

It added: “The safe and environmentally sound disposal in Canada of the waste material will take place before the end of summer 2019. The costs associated with the preparation, transfer, shipment, and disposal of the waste will be assumed by the Government of Canada.”

Canada earlier missed its May 15 deadline to take back the remaining 69 containers of garbage that a Canadian company had shipped to the Philippines in 2013.

After Canada missed the deadline, Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro “Teddyboy” Locsin Jr said on May 16 that the Philippines had recalled its diplomats in Canada because of this issue. 

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on April 23 threatened “war” against Canada if it fails to bring home the garbage it dumped in the Philippines. Nearly a month later on Wednesday, May 22, Malacañang announced that Duterte had ordered government officials to look for a private company to ship the trash back to Canada.

The Canadian garbage smuggled into the Philippines by private importers has been a long-festering diplomatic issue, starting from the presidency of Benigno Aquino III.

It began in 2013 when 1,300 tons of waste materials were illegally shipped by Ontario-based company Chronic Incorporated to the Philippines. (READ: TIMELINE: Canada garbage shipped to the Philippines)

Despite fierce outcry from environmentalists, Canada initially refused to bring the garbage back to Canadian soil, citing a lack of authority to compel the private shipper to return the garbage to the country. (READ: Illegal garbage dispute: Why can’t Canada be like Japan?

Canada in its statement on Wednesday said that in 2016, it “amended its regulations to prevent future exports of such material without a permit.” Canada also said it is “looking at ways to hold the responsible parties to account.” – Rappler.com

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.