Make our Christmas Toxic-Free

Canada, take back your toxic-waste now!

Press release - December 22, 2014
Metro Manila – Environmental and public health organizations gather in front of the Canadian Embassy carrying a giant Christmas tree and a card containing their call for Canada to take back their illegal toxic waste shipment that is currently rotting and clogging Philippine ports for more than 500 days now.

“The Canadian waste continue to fester in the Philippine ports and possibly be permanently disposed in our soils. How the Canadian government have the dignity to let this linger on for more than 500 days is despicable and sickening. Taking it back and not letting the Filipino suffer is the best thing to do – not just because of the season but because it is the moral thing to do,” said Abigail Aguilar, Greenpeace toxics campaigner.

Canada, take back your toxic waste now! © Greenpeace / Jenny Tuazon

Earlier this year, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) intercepted and seized 50 container vans containing various waste materials and hazardous wastes imported from Canada, with the consignee Chronic Plastics, Inc. declaring the shipment as ‘assorted scrap plastic materials for recycling’.

Canada’s stance, however, pins the blame to the private consignee and maintains that it does not have any legal capacity to compel the Canada-based exporter Chronic Incorporated, with address at 95 Regency Crescent, Whitby, Ontario, Canada LIN 7K8, to re-export their noxious shipment.

“This shipment is considered illegal and an international crime under the Basel Convention to which both the Philippines and Canada are parties to,” explained BAN Toxics executive director and international chemicals and waste legal expert Atty. Richard Gutierrez.

“Canada’s refusal to take back the illegal shipment is blatant violation of their obligation under Basel.” Gutierrez added.

Gutierrez said that the shipment, containing a mixture of household and toxic wastes, should be re-exported in accordance to the Basel Convention. The Basel Convention prohibits illegal toxic waste trade and requires the exporting country, in this case Canada, to take back the illegally seized shipment and to pay the costs for the return.

The importation violates a number of local laws such as the DENR Administrative Order 28 (Interim Guidelines for the Importation of Recyclable Materials Containing Hazardous Substances) and Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

© Greenpeace / Jenny Tuazon

According to the groups’ calculations, the government is spending at least P144,000 a day for the loss of income for storage space and the additional expenses for demurrage, which, to date, costs around P70 million.

Almost 25,000 people signed a petition on Change.org (www.change.org/DiKamiBasurahan) urging the Canadian government to assume full responsibility and take back the waste shipment. The petition is still open for signature and the groups are urging more people to sign.

Joining Ang Nars, BAN Toxics, Greenpeace, and Ecowaste Coalition are Mother Earth Foundation, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives.

For more information:

Angelica Carballo-Pago
Media and Communications Manager, BAN Toxics
Mobile: 0998-9595785
Email:

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