An environmental watchdog urged local authorities to be on the alert as customs authorities scamper for alternative disposal options for the controversial Canadian garbage shipments following strong rejection by the government and people of Tarlac last month.
“To prevent such eventuality, we call upon concerned local government units (LGUs) to pass preemptive measures that will prohibit the disposal of garbage from Canada or any other countries in facilities under their jurisdiction,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Ordinances or resolutions by concerned provincial, city and municipal councils would frustrate any move by the Bureau of Customs to dispose of the reeking foreign garbage locally instead of shipping it back to its origin,” she said.
“LGUs should enact a blanket prohibition on foreign waste disposal to send an unambiguous message to Canada and the entire world that no part of the country is willing to be a global trash bin. It is a patriotic and precautionary act in the name of public health and the environment that will surely draw the respect and support of their constituents,” she said.
The EcoWaste Coalition particularly urged Bulacan, Cavite and Rizal and Metro Manila LGUs hosting landfills, cement kilns or incinerators where Canada’s garbage may be transported for final disposal to take precaution against such threat.
“While Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado had verbally rejected the potential dumping of Canada’s garbage in Bulacan, we think it is vital for the Provincial Board, as well as for the concerned municipal or city councils, to formally say no to foreign waste disposal in their province be it through dumping or burning,” said Lucero.
Bulacan is home to three landfill facilities located in the municipalities of Obando and Norzagaray and in San Jose del Monte City, as well as cement plants using municipal waste as alternative fuel.
“We also call upon the City Councils of Navotas City and Quezon City to take a firm stance against foreign waste dumping and disallow the use of landfills in Tanza and Payatas, respectively, for imported garbage,” Lucero said.
The EcoWaste Coalition urged all LGUs to step up the genuine enforcement of Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, towards increased waste prevention and reduction to ultimately cut the volume of residual waste requiring environmentally-sound disposal.
The group pointed out that imported trash such as the 103 container vans of garbage from Canada would not qualify as “municipal waste,” which is defined under R.A. 9003 as “wastes produced from activities within local government units,” explicitly excluding wastes generated abroad.