There were 103 containers and about 2,500 ton of waste originally, but 34 containers have been disposed of locally in the Philippines.
Following months of threats from President Rodrigo Duterte, a cargo vessel docked in the Philippines Thursday and will be used to send dozens of containers with illegally shipped trash back to Canada.
“I think the message that we’re sending to the world is that we will not be a pushover and, moreover, that the president is really somebody to reckon with,” Subic Bay freeport administrator Wilma Eisma, said.
Earlier this month, the government recalled its ambassador and consuls in Canada after Ottawa failed to comply with a May 15 deadline to take back the waste, despite the Canadian government agreeing to do so.
“If Canada will not accept their trash, we will leave the same within its territorial waters,” Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said. “The president’s stance is as principled as it is uncompromising: The Philippines as an independent sovereign nation must not be treated as trash by other foreign nations.”
Last week, Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKenna claimed that a French shipping company had been contracted to accommodate the return of the containers waste, by the end of June.
Ah Bon Voyage! The garbage likely had More fun in the Philippines than at some Canadian landfill... the 62 container vans - on its way to Vancouver.— mike k cohen (@MikeofNewYORK) May 31, 2019
Sarcasm from PH @DFAPHL secretary is a fact none of this would have happened unless someone in the past let it in! https://t.co/ACoq3gIoP1
Some 69 containers of garbage will be returned to Canada, according to officials. Eisma explained that the trash will be loaded on the M/V Bavaria and then taken to Vancouver.
“Philippines: not a garbage dumping ground!” was displayed by a streamer from enthusiastic environmental activists who were welcoming of the controversial president to reject the waste of fist world nations.
Philippine customs authorities inspected the mislabeled containers and discovered that about two-thirds had ordinary household garbage. There were 103 containers and about 2,500 ton of waste originally, but 34 containers have been disposed of locally in the Philippines.
The EcoWaste Coalition in the Philippines and RightOnCanada issued a statement saying the return of the garbage a "victory for the rule of law, morality and the environment."
Environmental groups urged the Duterte administration Thursday to ban waste import and ratify the Basel Ban Amendment, which prohibits the import of waste.
"The Philippines is not the world's dumpsite," Aileen Lucero, national co-ordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition, said. "Never again shall we allow other countries to trash our dignity, our people's health and the environment."
Officials confirmed that the trash was shipped to the Asian nation from 2013 to 2014 and falsely declared as recyclable plastic scraps.
China's ban on the import of plastic waste has caused other Southeast Asian nations to become new trash destinations.