Groups Back Tarlaqueños; Buck Canadian Garbage Disposal in Capas

Zero waste
and chemical safety advocates lauded Tarlac provincial authorities and citizens’
groups for questioning the disposal of the controversy-ridden imported Canadian
garbage in a landfill facility in the town of Capas.
To manifest their solidarity with the Tarlaqueños, the
EcoWaste Coalition has forged links with the Coalition of Concerned Citizens of
Bamban and has organized a delegation comprised of concerned environmental
groups to observe the Tarlac Provincial Board meeting scheduled on Thursday.
“We stand in solidarity with the Tarlac government and people in their efforts
to stop a precedent-setting disposal of illegal trash from Canada and ensure
the protection of the public health and the environment.  Canada cannot simply bury the evidence of
this case of gross environmental injustice in our soil and get away with it,”
said Rene Pineda, Vice-President of the EcoWaste Coalition, an environmental
network of over 100 public interest groups.
Tarlac Governor Victor Yap on Monday suspended the dumping of the illegal
garbage imports from Canada at the Capas landfill owned by the Metro Clark
Waste Management Corp. until the Department of Environment and Natural
Resources (DENR) has submitted a certification on the results of the Waste
Analysis and Characterization Study (WACS) conducted by the Environmental
Management Bureau (EMB) in November 2014. 
According to a DENR-provided summary of the WACS conducted on three of the 50 container
vans, 63.94% of the Canadian garbage shipments were residuals, 33.25%
recyclable mixed plastics, 2.35% recyclable mixed metals, 0.24% electronic
waste and 0.23% glass bottles.    
Based on the WACS results, the DENR and the Canadian Embassy had both insisted
that the controversial trash shipments “are neither toxic nor hazardous.”
Tarlac Vice-Governor Enrique Cojuangco, Jr. stated in a TV interview aired
yesterday that “whether toxic or not, it is not good if another country dumps
its trash in our country.” 
“We urge the Tarlac local authorities not to swallow the questionable WACS results
hook, line and sinker and to reject the findings for being inconclusive in
terms of giving full assurance as to the ‘safety’ of the waste materials for
landfill disposal,” Pineda said.
Aside from the limited sampling size, Pineda pointed to the failure of the WACS
to accurately characterize the composition of the controversial Canadian
Quoting from the government-issued “General Guidelines/Procedures in Conducting
Waste Characterization Survey/Study,” Pineda said that “when analyzing solid
waste composition, it is necessary to obtain the following information: total
quantities of waste, bulk (density), moisture content, and composition
(physical and chemical).”
The said WACS guidelines form part of Appendix A of the Implementing Rules and
Regulations of Republic Act 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of
2000, which also prohibits the importation of toxic wastes misrepresented as “recyclables”
or with “recyclable content.”
“The most that the WACS did was to describe the physical composition of the
waste samples, albeit rather limitedly. 
That’s obviously inadequate to ascertain the ‘safety’ of the samples.  No assessment was done on the biological and chemical
properties of the samples and their associated hazards to human health and the
environment, including their potential impact to surface and ground water,” he
“The heterogenous nature of the Canadian garbage shipments, which include food discards,
soiled diapers, e-waste and plastics, may lead to the formation of toxic
leachate later on that can pose adverse effects on health and the environment,”
he pointed out.  
A study on plastics published in 2014 by the Swedish Society for Nature
Conservation in cooperation with the EcoWaste Coalition and other environmental
groups from Bangladesh, India and South Africa stated that “environmental
pollutants in the form of various types of plastic additives, monomers and decomposition
products risk polluting surrounding land and water.”
Among those going to Tarlac to support the provincial board meeting include Ban
Toxics, Cavite Green Coalition, Consumer Rights for Safe Food, Freedom from
Debt Coalition-Cebu, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Krusada sa
Kalikasan, Miriam PEACE, Mother Earth Foundation, November 17 Movement, Zero
Waste Recycling Movement of the Philippines Foundation and the EcoWaste
Coalition Secretariat. 

Statement from Vice-Governor Enrique
Cojuangco, Jr.:


Plastic Report:

(see page 37, landfill section, no.2)

Additional information re toxic leachate:

“When liquids continue to be present – or when precipitation later reenters
the site – leachate is formed that drains out of the waste load, carrying with
it toxic substances such as vinyl chloride, benzene and toluene which are
ubiquitous in household and commercial trash. 
There, at the bottom of the landfill, the dangerous effluent is poised
to leak through any breaches in the liner into the underlying water table,
which all too often connects to our drinking water supplies.” (Lanier Hickman,
Jr., “Principles of Integrated Solid Waste Management, pp 411-412)