A Philippine environmentalist said Saturday developing countries should say no to the transfer of hazardous waste from developed countries, calling for joint efforts to dispose of garbage properly.
Aileen G. Lucero, national coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition, an environmental organization, made the call after the Philippine government Thursday withdrew its diplomats in Canada over a six-year-old garbage row with the North American country.
A Canadian company exported 103 shipping containers of so-called recyclable plastic scraps to the Philippines in batches from 2013 to 2014. But 69 containers were confirmed to consist of household garbage and electronic waste by the Philippine Bureau of Customs.
The Philippines accuses Canada of violating the Basel Convention and repeatedly urges the North American country to ship back the garbage. In late April, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte reiterated that he gave Canada the deadline of May 15 to ship back the 69 containers of garbage. But Canada missed the deadline.
Aileen G. Lucero said Canada should take responsibility to collect the garbage, according to the Basel Convention, an international treaty that was designed to reduce the movements of hazardous waste between countries, and specifically to prevent the transfer of hazardous waste from developed to less developed countries.
“If there would be hazardous waste or municipal waste that has been transported in one country and has been discovered as an illegal provision with the Basel Convention, it would be the country of origin. The state of export would be responsible in getting all these trash back to their country,” she said.
Lucero said the Philippines itself produces 40,000 tons of garbage every day and it is really depressing on the Philippine side to solve its own garbage problem, let alone to handle the developed countries’ garbage coming to the country.
The environmentalist said developing countries should ban foreign trash imports and enhance cooperation on promoting a green low-carbon development, and China has set an example by imposing a ban on the import of foreign garbage starting from January 1, 2018.
“We are really into the ban on the waste import issue, so just like China did,” she said.