PH decides to dispose of garbage from Canada in local landfill
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government has decided to locally dispose of the tons of trash that were illegally shipped to the port in Manila from Canada two years ago.
An official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said an interagency body decided to dispose of the garbage in local landfills because of the prolonged negotiations to have the trash shipped back to Canada.
DENR Environment Management Bureau director Jonas Leones said the cost of the “treatment” would be charged to the importer, Valenzuela City-based Chronic Plastics, which was named as consignee of the exporter, Chronic Inc. based in Ontario, Canada.
The Bureau of Customs, through the Department of Justice, has charged Chronic Plastics owner Adelfa Eduardo and customs brokers Leonora Flores and Sherjun Saldon with violation of Republic Act 6969 or the Act to Control Toxic Substances and Hazardous Nuclear Wastes.
They were also charged with violation of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP) for the unlawful importation of waste materials from Canada.
Leones said last February 17, state prosecutors asked the Manila Regional Trial Court to hold an inspection and to order the trash disposed of afterwards.
“It can be locally treated. That’s the best option we can take,” the EMB director said.
The decision came after the DENR concluded that the trash from Canada inside 50 container vans that began arriving in June 2013 consisted of “mixed scrap plastic and household waste.”
“Based on the waste analysis and characterization study (WACS), it’s not toxic and hazardous but mixed scrap plastic and household waste. Then the Philippines has the capability to undertake local treatment,” Leones said.
Contradicting earlier reports that some of the opened vans contained used adult diapers, Leones said their personnel did not find any in the 10 vans they checked.
“According to the WACS, no diaper was found. Based on the findings of the team, it consists of mixed scrap plastic and household waste,” he said.
He said they have identified five landfills where the trash would be dumped after segregating any reusable plastic scrap.
“Canada is cooperating with the government in addressing the problem,” Leones said.
The government, backed by public health and environmental advocates, had been asking the Canadian government to take back the 50 container vans that were found to be filled with household wastes in a customs inspection.
Developed nations are prohibited from dumping garbage in developing countries under the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes, which the Philippines and Canada have ratified.
According to the international treaty, the country where the waste originated should be responsible for returning the waste to its port of origin “within 30 days” from the time it was notified about the illegal shipment.
The Canadian Embassy, however, has refused to take back the garbage, saying the issue was a “private commercial matter” between a Canadian exporter and its Philippine importer-partner.
Leones said the negotiations with Canada involved not only the DENR but other government agencies.
“They’re (Canadian embassy) willing to help us and assist the government in resolving the problem,” he said.
Meanwhile, for the last two years, the trash rotted in the port of Manila while some of the vans have been brought to the Subic port to ease the congestion of vans. SFM/AC
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