21 September 2014

Environmentalists from 30 Countries Say: “Canada Must Take Back Its Garbage”

Quezon City.  Public interest groups for a toxics-free future from 30 countries across the globe have expressed their concern about the botched shipment from Canada of 50 container vans of mixed trash to the Philippines in the guise of plastic recycling.

“We stand in solidarity with the Philippines in asking Canada to take back its garbage without further delay,” said the statement signed yesterday by chemical safety advocates participating in a global civil society meeting in Kunming, China.

Signing the statement were 63 environmentalists from non-government organizations in Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Belarus, China, Cook Islands, Czech Republic, Ethiopia, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, New Zealand, Philippines, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and USA.

“We support the rightful stance taken by the Government of the Philippines and the environmental and zero waste groups to have the illegal shipment returned to the sender for contravening the country’s laws and the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal,” they declared.

“We commend the customs authorities for seizing the stinking delivery and laud the Filipino government and people for sending an unambiguous message to garbage exporters that the Philippines is not a dumpsite,” they said.

“To put an end to this deceitful and unethical waste dumping that has become a routine practice across the globe, we urge the Governments of both Canada and the Philippines to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment, which prohibits hazardous waste transfer from developed to developing countries even for recycling,” they proposed.

“Countries and companies engaged in the trade of recyclables must ensure that only clean materials are sent abroad for recycling, and that recycling is not used as a camouflage for hazardous waste disposal and dumping,” they emphasized.

In a separate statement sent via the EcoWaste Coalition, the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) expressed “support to the ongoing efforts seeking a resolution to the waste shipment originating from Canada.”

“Increased delays to manage the risk from the waste shipment may pose a risk to public and environmental health in the Philippines. It is necessary for Canada to uphold its commitment under the Basel Convention to the global community and to the Philippines.  The time has now lapsed and Canada has a duty to intervene for the immediate return of waste shipment to Canada for proper disposal through environmentally sound management,” CELA said.

The EcoWaste Coalition, an environmental network championing zero waste and chemical safety, thanked allied groups from abroad for manifesting their support to the Philippines on this issue of waste dumping.

“We are deeply grateful for their expression of unity with our country’s fight for environmental justice, which should further encourage our government and people to determinedly defend our right against waste dumping.  Canada’s garbage must be shipped back to its origin at once,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

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