A Quezon City-based environmental watchdog group told councilors at a public hearing this morning to declare the smuggled rubbish from Canada as “basura non grata” in Payatas landfill.
The EcoWaste Coalition coined the term “basura non grata” to censure the illegally shipped garbage from Canada whose entry into the country is unwelcomed and in blatant violation of environmental and tariff and customs laws.
It will be recalled that 55 container vans of mixed garbage falsely declared as “plastic scraps” from Canada arrived at the Manila port from June to September 2013. Forty-eight more containers of such illegal garbage shipments, also from Canada, entered the country in December 2013 to January 2014.
The 55 containers were consigned to Chronic Plastics located in Valenzuela City and the other 48 containers to Live Green Enterprises based in San Fernando City.
“We fully support Resolution No. 19CC-1131 and call upon the members of the City Council to rally behind this measure to preempt any foreign waste dumping in Payatas,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition.
District 1 Councilor Dorothy Delarmente introduced Resolution No. 19CC-1131, which, if adopted, would “express strong disapproval against any plan to dispose foreign waste at the Payatas Sanitary Landfill.”
“To hammer home the message that our country is not a global dumpsite, the Council should even declare the imported trash from Canada as ‘basura non grata’ that should be shipped back without further delay,” Lucero added.
According to the resolution, “the Quezon City Government stands firm on its commitment to protect the human health and the environment in line with the state policy affirming the people’s right to health and to a balanced and healthful ecology as provided for in the Constitution.”
“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 to a halt,” it stated.
Some 20 environmental, labor and women’s groups based in Quezon City had earlier expressed support to the said resolution.
These groups include 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 illegal garbage shipments were in violation of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Administrative Order 1994-28 on 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).
The illegal shipments also contravened the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, which also includes “wastes collected from households.”