Filipinos call on PM to take out trash

Lethbridge Herald - - HEADLINE NEWS - Andy Blatchford

Justin Trudeau’s visit to the Philip­pines brought him within a short walk of a Cana­dian con­tro­versy that has lin­gered in the Port of Manila for years: about 100 stranded con­tain­ers crammed with thou­sands of tons of rot­ting trash from Canada.

The case of the ran­cid Cana­dian garbage, fes­ter­ing in Manila for about four years, is well known in the Philip­pines — it’s made head­lines and led to protests by en­vi­ron­men­tal and pub­lic-health ac­tivists.

They’ve been call­ing on Canada to repa­tri­ate the waste, which is said to in­clude old wires, CDs, used plas­tic cups and soiled adult di­a­pers. Es­ti­mates in lo­cal news re­ports say there could be as much as 2,500 tons of trash in 103 ship­ping con­tain­ers.

The ship­ments were al­lowed into the coun­try be­cause they were al­legedly dis­guised as re­cy­clable plas­tics. Upon in­spec­tion, how­ever, cus­toms of­fi­cers dis­cov­ered they were stuffed with reek­ing house­hold trash — or worth­less land­fill junk.

The cus­toms bu­reau warned the ma­te­rial could be haz­ardous and im­pounded the ship­ment.

Dur­ing a visit to Manila two years ago, Trudeau was asked by a lo­cal re­porter about the Cana­dian garbage.

He replied at the time that a “Cana­dian solution” was in the works and he vowed to make leg­isla­tive changes to make sure it wouldn’t hap­pen again.

“It’s two years al­ready and the waste still re­mains here,” said Aileen Lucero, national co­or­di­na­tor of Manila’s EcoWaste Coali­tion, one of many groups that have been fight­ing for the re­moval of the rub­bish.

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