Even Canadians want their garbage back

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CANADIAN netizens have asked Prime Minister Stephen Harper to take the garbage dumped in the Philippines two years ago back to their country.

The call came following the signature campaign launched in the Philippines through the online platform change.org (change.org/dikamibasurahan).

With over 25,000 signatures gathered since it was launched March last year, the reactions from Canadian were encouraging, according to Anna Kapunan of the health advocacy group Ang Nars Partylist.

Before this, Kapunan urged Canadians to tweet Harper using the handle @pmharper. Kapunan and the group Ban Toxics maintain that the entry of the garbage in the Philippines was illegal.

“This goes to show that our Canadian brothers and sisters are with us in this call,” said Kapunan. “The Canadian government should listen to its citizens and do the right thing in the interest of justice once and for all.”

 Here are some of the tweets:

 Public outcry in PH, Canada, snubbed by @pmharper. We call on our PM to commit to @govph that we’re taking trash back. – @sleevine

@pmharper you’re leaving a stinking legacy. Commit to @govph in PH state visit that we’re taking our trash back. – @rongillmore

@pmharper let’s not bully the PH. We’ve broken international law. Make it right and tell @govph that we’re taking it back. – @Cross11Sharon

“It’s shameful,” one said for @pmharper to not own “up for Canada trash dumped in the Philippines.”

Another tweet said “Filipinos have paid 2M CAD for keeping our trash for 2 years. @pmharper tell @govph that we’re taking our trash back – @moscreations”

Aquino left for Canada Wednesday to meet with with top Canada officials, including Governor General David Johnston and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

In 2013, the Philippines Bureau of Customs (BOC) seized 50 forty-footer container vans containing various waste materials and hazardous wastes imported from Canada, which were misdeclared by the Canadian exporter as ‘assorted scrap plastic materials for recycling’.

Philippine environmental groups and health advocates have expressed fear that if the Canadian wastes were to be dumped in the Philippines, this will set a precedent and give way to more garbage being dumped in poor countries by richer countries like Canada.

“The Harper administration knows it’s reneging on its international commitments and it is using its economic power to bully a poorer nation from enforcing the very obligations designed to protect it,” explained environmental justice organization BAN Toxics’ executive director Atty. Richard Gutierrez.

The Canadian government, Gutierreza said, continues to dodge the issue by saying this is a private matter between the Canadian exporter, Chronic Inc., and its Filipino counterpart, Chronic Plastics. However, various sectors have pointed out that the illegal shipment is a violation of the Basel Convention, to which both Canada and the Philippines are parties.

The Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, a United Nations treaty to which both Canada and the Philippines are parties, states that the illegal shipment, containing a mixture of household and toxic wastes, should be re-exported to Canada.

The Basel Convention is an international treaty that regulates toxic waste and other wastes, similar to what the Canadian shipper sent to the Philippines, and prohibits illegal waste trade. The Convention requires the exporting country, in this case Canada, to take back the illegally seized shipment and to pay the costs for the return. | PR

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