Environmental, labor and women’s groups urged the Quezon City Council to fast track the unanimous adoption of a resolution that will serve as a deterrent against any move to dump Canadian garbage in Payatas.
Proposed Resolution No. 19CC-1131, introduced by District 1 Councilor Dorothy Delarmente, seeks to “express strong disapproval against any plan to dispose foreign waste at the Payatas Sanitary Landfill.”
Backing the City Council’s approval of the resolution were Quezon City-based groups such as Ang NARS, Arugaan, Associated Labor Unions-TUCP, Bangon Kalikasan Movement, Ban Toxics, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino-NCR, Citizens' Organizations Concerned with Advocating Philippine Environmental Sustainability, EcoWaste Coalition, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Green Convergence, Greenpeace, Health Care Without Harm, Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, Mother Earth Foundation, Oceana Philippines, Piglas Kababaihan, Public Services Labor Independent Confederation, Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa, WomanHealth Philippines and Zero Waste Philippines.
“The resolution, which is not contentious at all, should be swiftly passed by the councilors to send a clear signal that garbage imports from Canada and elsewhere will not be allowed in Payatas,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Its passage is one great gift that the councilors can give as the city marks on August 19 the 137th birth anniversary of former Pres. Manuel Luis Quezon after whom the city was named. They will surely earn ‘ganda’ and ‘pogi’ points for saying ‘no’ against dumping,” she said.
“Whether hazardous or not, as some quarters would claim, the controversial garbage would not qualify as ‘municipal waste’ because it’s not locally generated,” she added.
Republic Act 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, defines “municipal waste as wastes produced from activities within local government units.”
“Like the Tarlac Provincial Board, we appeal to the QC Council to take a patriotic and precautionary stand versus foreign waste dumping in Payatas and the Philippines for that matter,” Lucero stated.
According to the proposed resolution, “the Bureau of Customs is reportedly scurrying for alternative sites where the illegal garbage imports from Canada can be disposed of after Tarlac and Bulacan officials have raised legitimate objections to foreign waste being dumped in local landfills.”
“The Quezon City Council finds the dumping of foreign waste into our country as totally inexcusable and unacceptable and demands that such unethical and unlawful act be brought a halt,” the proposed resolution stated.
From June 2013 to January 2014, a total of 103 shipping containers of mixed garbage from Canada misdeclared as “plastic scraps” for recycling were illegally exported to the Philippines.
Trash from 26 of these containers were dumped at a landfill in Capas, Tarlac from June 26 to July 8 without authorization from the provincial government, prompting the local authorities to immediately stop further dumping of the foreign garbage in the facility.
Such illegal importation of garbage contravenes national and international laws, including the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Administrative Order 1994-28 (Interim Guidelines for the Importation of Recyclable Materials Containing Hazardous Substances), Republic Act 6969 (Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act) and Republic Act 9003 (Ecological Solid Waste Management Act), as well as the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, which also covers “wastes collected from households.