Canadian rubbish dumped at Philippine landfill

Canadian rubbish dumped at Philippine landfill
GARBAGE OUT: The rubbish being unloaded at a landfill in Capas, north of Manila.

Tonnes of imported Canadian rubbish have been sent to a northern Philippines landfill, ending a two-year stand-off with activists who called for the waste to be returned to Canada, officials said yesterday.

The 55 containers full of household rubbish were seized at Manila's port in mid-2013 on grounds that the waste was being passed off as plastic scrap material for recycling.

The country's Customs Bureau initially labelled the rubbish "contraband", but the Canadian embassy said the Philippine government later agreed to "dispose of the shipment in an environmentally sound manner in accordance with its laws and regulations".

"The government of Canada worked closely with the government of the Philippines with regard to the shipment," the Canadian embassy in Manila said in a statement.

In June last year, trucks began hauling the estimated 1,375 tonnes of waste to a landfill about a three-hour drive north of Manila.

Disposal teams are set to finish transporting the rest of the waste soon, the Customs Bureau and landfill operator said.

Activists remain angry that the garbage is being sent to a landfill in the Philippines, instead of being returned to Canada.

"It's sad that local communities will be the ones to suffer from this foreign waste dumping in our land," Ms Angelica Carballo, communications manager for the Manila-based environmental watchdog group Ban Toxics, told AFP.

"It's sad that our government appears to be conniving with Canada."

While local officials claim the Philippine government has certified that the material was not toxic or hazardous, Ms Carballo insists that the rubbish contains "electronic waste" that the landfill is not allowed to process.

This article was first published on July 15, 2015.
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