Friday, June 26, 2015

What? We import waste? Again from Canada?

I stayed in Canada long enough to love the country and people. I have a different feeling today.   
Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday
Environmental protesters raise a banner that reads "Pilipinas: Hindi tambakan at sunugan ng basura" to stress that the Philippines is not a waste dumping and burning zone in front of the Canadian embassy in Manila on Thursday, May 7, 2015. Eco Waste Coalition/Released (Reprint of news at the end of this article)

From Canada? Asked PDI Editorial, February 19, 2014.
Part 1 - 2014 Waste Importation
Yes, 50 container vans.  That's a mountain of garbage. that can litter a whole town or city. Litter irreversibly.  Because the waste is non-biodegradable.  Toxic.  Obnoxious. Pathogenic. Carcinogenic. 
Canadian Foreign Affair Bldg 

Otherwise you wouldn't get rid of it.  Waste that can be made into compost and organic fertilizer, waste that can be recycled like paper, waste that can generate biofuel - such wastes wouldn't find their way out of the country of origin.  Because they are a resource.  Valuable resource to create recycled goods and services, employment and industry. Take Germany as model in waste recycling.

But Canada?  I was there some forty years ago.  I learned to love the country because it is the most pristine of all natural environments on earth.  Its people are gentle.  It is the home of aborigine, migrants led by the English and French who founded the country more than two centuries ago.

Now the image is tarnished. Social media opened the eyes of the world. Even Canadian activists are themselves enraged at the news, and blamed their government for it, says the Editorial of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

What makes it easy to move waste from one country to another?  Well, politics and underground arrangement. This is not the first time that the Philippines became the intended dumping ground for waste of other countries .
 In 2012, a US naval ship dumped toxic waste in Subic.(aerial photo)  Waste from the US Navy vessel Emory Land. Contrary to claim the waste passed pre-treatment, it was raw and very dangerous.  It was just released in Philippine waters.  How the waste killed marine life, polluted the estuary, reached land by seawater intrusion, and many other consequences is another.  A bigger story beyond belief of people who are reasonable and of integrity. Who are victims themselves.

In 2006, under a planned Economic Partnership Agreement between the Philippines and Japan, the first to break the ground so to speak was a shipment of toxic and hazardous waste from Japan to be dump here.  It could have been the first of many garbage shipments, courtesy of peacetime Japan to a former war country-victim.

Canada, United States, Japan - environmental crusaders and ecological cavaliers, and   technologically the most advanced countries. Just like Canada I had the chance to visit the two countries. I admire how they manage being clean - streets, parks, schools, business centers. That was in the seventies and eighties.  

That was as long ago as Rip Van Winkle had slept for a long twenty years. 

I would like to end up with a sigh and take the armchair by the hearth. Except that I have a book of Dylan Thomas. One poem of his is Don't Go Gentle into the Night.  ~ 

     Effects of hazardous imported waste 

1.  It is demeaning, loss of national pride, if it's a pre-condition  to aid, negotiation, and trade.
2.  Waste from hospitals is not only toxic, it is pathogenic (pest and disease carrier)
3. Nuclear waste (nuclear energy generators, nuclear ships and submarines) contains long term radiation reaching hundreds of years.       

Part 2 2015 Waste Importation

Canada criticized for waste shipments amid Aquino trip
By Mike Frialde ( | Updated May 7, 2015
MANILA, Philippines — An environmentalist group on Thursday staged a protest before the embassy of Canada in Makati City and demanded that the Canadian government take back hazardous wastes shipped to the Philippines.
According to the Eco Waste Coalition that staged the protest, Canada allegedly shipped 50 container vans loaded with hazardous trash.

The container vans are still at the ports of Manila and Subic after arriving in batches in 2013. Their contents, said the Eco Waste Coalition, were misdeclared as recycled plastics.

Eco Waste Coalition protest coincided with the state visit of President Benigno to Canada from May 7 to 9.

Outside the Canadian embassy at the corner of Ayala Avenue and  Gil Puyat Avenue, the protesters raised a big banner that read: "Pilipinas: Hindi tambakan at sunugan ng basura" to stress that the Philippines is not a waste dumping and burning zone.

"Mindful of the threat posed to our people's health and the environment by the mixed garbage, President Aquino should tell Canada to re-import their trash and (Canadian) Prime Minister (Stephen) Harper should not object to such a legitimate demand," said Eco Waste Coalition coordinator Aileen Lucero.

She added that it will be "scandalous" for Aquino to allow the imported trash to be landfilled in his home province Tarlac or elsewhere, incinerated in Cavite or used as alternative fuels for cement plants in Bulacan.
"Our communities should not be forced to bear the burden of increased environmental pollution due to Canada's garbage," Lucero said.
The group said environmental groups have been appealing for Canada to take back their waste since 2013.

"We are talking about 50 forty-footer-container vans filled with mixed waste and trash, illegally brought and misdeclared," Lucero added.

A rallyist holds a photo of hazardous waste in a container van allegedly shipped from Canada to the Philippines. Eco Waste/Released
Lucero said that as parties to the "Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous and Their Disposal," Canada and the Philippines must act with resolve the garbage shipment issue to protect human health and the environment.

Amang Mejia, a lawyer for Eco Waste Coalition added that the Philippines has the sovereign right to ban the entry or disposal of foreign hazardous wastes and other wastes in its territory.

"Returning the unlawful garbage shipment, which government prosecutors had earlier determined to be in violation of the country's laws, to the state of export and punishing the culprits will send a strong signal to waste traders that the Philippines does not condone illegal traffic of trash," he said.

According to the Eco Waste Coalition, the Department of Justice last November said the shipment "falls squarely within the prohibited prohibitions" under Republic Act 6969, or the "Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990," and DENR Administrative Order No. 28, Series of 1994, or the "Interim Guidelines for the Importation of Recyclable Materials Containing Hazardous Substances."

The Eco Waste Coalition has maintained that Canada's garbage shipment flouts the Basel Convention, Republic Act 6969 and other relevant regulations.

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