“While bulk of the garbage had been returned to Canada a year ago, the threat to public health and the environment from imported waste persists. Despite earlier pronouncements, the government has yet to formally invalidate old regulations allowing the entry of electronic, plastic and other hazardous wastes into our ports under the veil of recycling,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition. “To put an end to this iniquitous practice, we renew our appeal to the authorities to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment, disallow the importation of waste, and step up efforts to ensure the environmentally sound management of waste materials generated by our own industries, institutions and households,” she added.
“Ratifying the Basel Ban Amendment is a fundamental next step for both the Philippines and Canada to prohibit hazardous waste trade,” said Dr. Joe DiGangi, Senior Science and Technical Advisor, IPEN, a global environmental network that counts EcoWaste Coalition and RightOnCanada among its partners. “However, if the Philippines really wants to avoid becoming a waste bin for other countries, it needs a comprehensive ban on all waste imports,” he pointed out.Kathleen Ruff, Founder and Director of RightOnCanada, who was instrumental in obtaining a legal opinion confirming that the export of Canadian garbage to the Philippines constituted illegal traffic under the Basel Convention, said that “UN Conventions, such as the Basel Convention are very important. But it required the support of Filipinos and the determined activism of the civil society to make the Canadian government finally, after six years, fulfill its obligations under the Basel Convention and take back its wastes.” Under the Basel Convention, Canada is legally obliged to ensure that wastes illegally exported to a developing country like the Philippines are returned to Canada by the exporting company or by the government within 30 days of having been notified by the receiving country. “Citizens and environmental organizations need to stay involved and active if we are to achieve environmental justice,” Ruff said, stressing “it is time for Canada and all countries to support the Basel Ban Amendment and finally stop the destructive and unjust practice of wealthy countries exporting their wastes to developing countries.”