MANILA – The president of the Philippines threatened to declare war on Canada if the country did not immediately collect tons of garbage sent illegally to the Asian archipelagos for disposal. The practice is illegal and violates international regulations.
“I give a warning to Canada, maybe next week, it’s better to settle these things or I’m going to sail to Canada, I’m going to throw your trash there,” said the president, quoted by the Rappler portal, adding that he would “declare war” on the northern state if there was no answer.
He also advised Canada to prepare to receive the garbage. The president also ordered the trucks to leave the garbage near the Canadian embassy in Makati. Duterte also threatened to lay off customs officials responsible for authorizing the entry of Canadian garbage into the country.
Recently the Philippines attacked Canada, saying that private importers have been smuggling tons of Canadian junk to the Philippines for several years. Facing protests from environmentalists, Canada, however, refused to get back the material, justifying itself by saying that it is unable to force a private company to collect the garbage.
The discarded material allegedly consisted of diapers used for adults, newspapers, plastic bottles and sacks. The practice violated parts of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Deposit, a 30-year treaty that prevents countries from sending hazardous wastes to the developing world without the consent of the government.
When Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Manila in 2015, he said that a “Canadian solution” was being developed and said the situation would not occur again, according to the news outlet.
Canada has been trying for nearly six years to convince the Philippines to dispose of the garbage there, even though a Filipino court ordered the trash returned to Canada in 2016.
A spokesperson for federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna said Canada is looking into the issue.
“Canada is strongly committed to collaborating with the Philippines government to resolve this issue and is aware of the court decision ordering the importer to ship the material back to Canada,” said Sabrina Kim in an email to CBC News.
“A joint technical working group, consisting of officials from both countries, is examining the full spectrum of issues related to the removal of the waste with a view to a timely resolution.
“In 2016, we amended our own regulations around hazardous waste shipments to prevent such events from happening again. We are committed to working collaboratively to ensure the material is processed in an environmentally responsible way.”