Show more grit over Canada waste, DENR told

Environmental and public health advocates urged the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to order the shipment back to Canada of the illegal cargo of trash that was intercepted in the Port of Manila in June 2013.

In a rally Wednesday outside the DENR office in Quezon City, they asked President Benigno Aquino III and his officials to show more courage in the face of Canada’s refusal to acknowledge its obligation under international law and take the trash back.

They stressed that the shipment, consisting of 50 freight containers filled with plastic scraps and other household waste, violated the Basel Convention which prohibits developed nations from dumping their garbage in developing countries.

DENR Environmental Management Bureau director Jonas Leones recently disclosed that an interagency body had decided to dispose of the trash in local landfills due to the prolonged negotiations with Canada as the trash rotted away in the port.

“We can’t help but feel ashamed of our own government who is backing off to accommodate the Canadian wastes,” said Paeng Lopez of Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives.

“Our call for the re-exportation of Canada’s illegal waste continues until DENR upholds its mandate,” the group BAN Toxics added. Rene Pineda of EcoWaste Coalition said the government should “stand up to defend our rights and make Canada clean up their stinking mess.”

“The government should not allow itself to be bullied by other nations. It would not only set a bad precedent, but also show the world that our government has no backbone to defend its sovereignty,” said Abigail Aguilar of Greenpeace.