Science

Cargo ship arrives in Philippines to return Canadian trash

Cargo ship arrives in Philippines to return Canadian trash”

Philippine Foreign Secretary Teddy Locsin posted video and photos to his Twitter account showing the containers being loaded throughout the afternoon and into the wee hours of the morning in Subic, a major worldwide port northwest of Manila. The garbage will be treated at a waste-to-energy facility.

The Philippines started returning dozens of shipping containers full of garbage to Canada on Friday.

He said Canada had moved quickly in recent weeks to deal with the issue, which had dragged on for a number of years after the Philippines government made it "clear this is a very serious priority for them".

Over the next six years, those festering containers became a source of major tension between the two countries, coming to a head in April when Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to declare war if Canada didn't pick up its remaining trash.

MV Bavaria is expected to arrive at the Port of Vancouver in Canada on June 22, after a stopover in Taiwan. "The garbage is gone, good riddance", Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin tweeted, along with images of the vessel leaving.

Canadian officials from the embassy in Manila are monitoring the loading.

Locsin suggested there were last-minute problems getting global shipping permits in place, saying the Philippine environment minister was "up early" and "begged for foreign transshipment permits" while Canada's ambassador John Holmes "never slept 'til it all got done".

Canada said the waste, exported to the Philippines between 2013 and 2014, was a private commercial transaction done without the government's consent. The containers had to be inspected, cleaned and fumigated before being loaded on the boat. Canada has footed the shipping bill pegged at some $260,000.

The Philippines is not the world's dumpsite. The former Conservative government spent more than two years trying to convince the Philippines to dispose of the trash there, and in July 2015, the contents of 26 of the containers were dumped into a local landfill. "Never again shall we allow other countries to trash our dignity, our people's health and the environment".

The company that sent the containers to the Philippines, Chronic Inc., based in Whitby, Ont., appears to be dormant.

However, environmental groups don't consider the long-awaited repatriation the end of the story. The junk, which includes household garbage like plastic bags, bottles, diapers and newspapers, was mislabelled plastic for recycling.

Malaysia, the world's main destination for plastic waste after China, said on Tuesday it would return as much as 3,000 tonnes of waste back to the countries of origin.

China banned the import of plastic waste previous year, causing other Southeast Asian nations to become new destinations. Canada is investigating that claim.

Speaking in Tokyo on Thursday, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad also criticised the practice of wealthier countries such as the US, Canada and Japan sending their non-recyclable waste to poorer countries, calling it "grossly unfair".

"Going forward, both Canada and the Philippines need to learn from this frustrating experience, so that it is never repeated", he added.



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