Court order to ship back Canada trash unheeded more than a year after – environmentalists

September 15, 2017 - 10:49 AM
File photo of an Ecowaste Coalition protest to demand the return of Canadian trash.

MANILA, Philippines — The order of a Manila court for the importers of waste from Canada to ship back the waste — which arrived in the country between 2013 and 2014 — has remained unheeded more than 14 months after it was issued, environmental groups lamented Friday, September 15.

“Over 14 months have already gone by and the court order remains unheeded,” said Aileen Lucero, national coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition, one of the intervenors in Criminal Case No. 14-1311191 against importer Adelfa Eduardo of Chronic Plastics and customs broker Sherjun Saldon.

“The intervenors are one with the prosecution in imploring the court to direct the importers to carry out the order.  The misdeclared residual trash imports have nowhere to go, but Canada,” Lucero said in a statement.

Aside from EcoWaste, the other intervenors in the case are Ang Nars party-list, the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Public Services Labor Independent Confederation, Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa , and three private individuals.

The June 30, 2016 order of Manila Regional Trial Court Judge Tita Bughao Alisuag directed the importers to return 50 container vans of mixed trash to Canada in accordance with Republic Act 6969, or the Toxic Substances, Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act, Section 14 (Criminal Offenses and Penalties) of which provides that “the person or firm responsible or connected with the bringing or importation into the country of hazardous or nuclear wastes shall be under obligation to transport or send back said prohibited wastes.”

Aside from this, Alisuag said “the (local) disposal and destruction of the wastes will violate equally important environmental laws such as R.A. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act and R.A. 9275 or the Clean Water Act.”

The court emphasized the Philippines is not a “trash bin” and said the incident “should not be made a precedent for other countries to follow.”

In all, 103 containers of mixed garbage, declared as scrap plastics for recycling, were shipped into the country and intercepted by the Bureau of Customs.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources certified that “the contents of the container vans imported by Chronic Plastics are bailed municipal wastes or garbage for immediate local disposal and cannot be recycled.”

Twenty six containers of the garbage were dumped at the privately-run Metro Clark landfill in Capas, Tarlac in 2015, angering local authorities and residents.