Smell ya later: Canadian trash finally leaves Philippine shores

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Canadian trash
The MV Bavaria, loaded the 69 containers of trash from Canada, sails off as Greenpeace activists display a banner that reads “Philippines is not a dumpsite”. Photo from Greenpeace

Sixty-nine containers of Canadian trash are now on their way home six years after they were illegally shipped to the Philippines. 

Earlier this month, the festering row over the garbage had led the Philippine government to withdraw its Ambassador from Ottowa after Canada missed a deadline to repatriate the containers. 

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Previously, President Duterte had made a tongue-in-cheek threat of war against Canada over the issue.

Greeting the news today (Friday, May 31) that the containers had finally left the port of Subic, foreign secretary Teodoro Locsin took to Twitter to write: “Baaaaaaaaa bye, as we say it.” 

Canada’s Environment Minister Catherine McKenna welcomed the news of the trash being returned, telling reporters yesterday: “We committed with the Philippines and we’re working closely with them.”

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Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority deputy administrator for port operations Rani Cruz said the containers were all loaded onto the MV Bavaria in the small hours of this morning.

“Canadian embassy officials, officials from the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority observed the loading,” he said.

The MV Bavaria arrived at the Subic Freeport New Container Port Terminal-1 yesterday afternoon and had to unload the containers it had brought in before the containers packed with garbage could be loaded.

Environmental groups have long campaigned for the removal of the trash, which includes non-recyclable plastic, waste paper, household waste, electronic wastes and even soiled adult diapers.

These materials are classified as hazardous according to Republic Act 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 Canadian trash was falsely declared as being recyclable when they arrived in 2013-2014.

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