Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte threatened on Tuesday that if Canada doesn’t take back 2,500 tons of waste illegally dumped on his country he will “declare war” and ship the containers back himself.
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The outspoken Phillippine President said that the North American nation is treating his country like a “dump site” and that if no measures are taken within a week the Philippines will “fight Canada” forcing them to repatriate their waste.
This latest row comes as part of a long-running dispute over waste exported from Canada between 2013 and 2014, that has been decaying in a shipyard ever since. About 103 shipping containers of household waste and even used adult diapers were shipped to the Southeast nation by a private company, Chronic Plastics Inc, who improperly mislabelled the waste shipments as plastic scraps.
Since then garbage from at least 26 of the containers has been buried in a Philippines landfill. As the Canadian government has tried to convince for half a decade for the Philippines to dispose of all the trash. Yet back in 2016, a Philippine court ordered the trash returned to its owner.
Manila has filed several requests to the Canadian government but to no avail, as they claim lack of authority to compel a private company to take responsibility. However, during his 2017 visit to Manila, Trudeau said that his government is “engaged in finding a solution”, yet no progress has been made in two years.
“The scandal has dragged on for five years without resolution, despite promises from the Canadian government to address the problem, including public statements made by yourself as prime minister," wrote Aileen Lucero, the national coordinator of EcoWaste, in an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on January 30, adding that the dumping is both “immoral and illegal.”
A British Columbia lawyer said in a legal brief that Canada is in violation of the international Basel Convention, which forbids developed nations from sending their toxic or hazardous waste to developing nations without informed consent.