ZAMBALES, Philippines – After staging several protests outside the Canadian Embassy and writing letters to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, various environmental groups now have a reason to celebrate as the tons of garbage from Canada are finally being thrown out of the Philippines.
MV Bavaria, the vessel contracted by the Canadian government, arrived at the Subic port on Thursday afternoon, May 30, and started unloading cargo so it can load 69 container vans of trash that were illegally shipped to the country since 2013.
Authorities are expecting that the loading of the container vans into MV Bavaria will be completed by Friday morning, May 31.
MV Bavaria, the ship that will carry Canada’s trash, is finally nearing Subic Bay’s port | @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/JMWj9JOkkA — Anna Mogato (@AGAMogato) May 30, 2019
Two of those container vans came from the Manila International Terminal Container, while the 67 others have been held at the Subic Bay International Terminal Corporation (SBITC).
Several environmental groups that have been calling for the removal of the trash from the Philippine ports assembled near the SBITC to ensure that the containers are shipped back to Canada.
From 2013 to 2014, 103 shipping containers from Canada were intercepted in the Port of Manila. The containers had inside mixed wastes, including nonrecyclable plastic, waste paper, household waste, electronic wastes, and used adult diapers.
These materials are classified as hazardous according to Republic Act No. 6969 or the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste and Control Act of 1990. Moreover, the importation of the shipment violates the Basel Convention, as the contents of the cargo vans were misdeclared as "recyclable."
Local nongovernment organizations, including Ecowaste Coalition, Greenpeace Philippines, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, BAN Toxics, and the global Break Free from Plastic Movement reiterated the call for the Philippine government to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment, which prohibits the import of all waste for any reason, including "recycling."
The groups are also calling on the government to ban all waste shipments from entering the country, and to stand up for Philippine sovereignty by telling developed countries that the country is not a garbage dump.
On April 23, President Rodrigo Duterte threatened he would declare "war" against Canada over the mounds of trash. He also threatened to send back the garbage himself.