Environmentalists from 30 Countries Say: “Canada Must Take Back Its Garbage”

Quezon City.  Public interest groups for a
toxics-free future from 30 countries across the globe have expressed their
concern about the botched shipment from Canada of 50 container vans of mixed
trash to the Philippines in the guise of plastic recycling.

“We stand in solidarity with the Philippines in asking Canada to take back its
garbage without further delay,” said the statement signed yesterday by chemical
safety advocates participating in a global civil society meeting in Kunming,

Signing the statement were 63 environmentalists from non-government
organizations in Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Belarus, China, Cook
Islands, Czech Republic, Ethiopia, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ivory
Coast, Kenya, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, New Zealand,
Philippines, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia,
Uruguay and USA.

“We support the rightful stance taken by the Government of the Philippines and
the environmental and zero waste groups to have the illegal shipment returned
to the sender for contravening the country’s laws and the Basel Convention on
the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal,”
they declared.

“We commend the customs authorities for seizing the stinking delivery and laud
the Filipino government and people for sending an unambiguous message to
garbage exporters that the Philippines is not a dumpsite,” they said.

“To put an end to this deceitful and unethical waste dumping that has become a
routine practice across the globe, we urge the Governments of both Canada and
the Philippines to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment, which prohibits hazardous
waste transfer from developed to developing countries even for recycling,” they

“Countries and companies engaged in the trade of recyclables must ensure that
only clean materials are sent abroad for recycling, and that recycling is not
used as a camouflage for hazardous waste disposal and dumping,” they

In a separate statement sent via the EcoWaste Coalition, the Canadian
Environmental Law Association (CELA) expressed “support to the ongoing efforts
seeking a resolution to the waste shipment originating from Canada.”

“Increased delays to manage the risk from the waste shipment may pose a risk to
public and environmental health in the Philippines. It is necessary for Canada
to uphold its commitment under the Basel Convention to the global community and
to the Philippines.  The time has now lapsed and Canada has a duty to
intervene for the immediate return of waste shipment to Canada for proper
disposal through environmentally sound management,” CELA said.

The EcoWaste Coalition, an environmental network championing zero waste and
chemical safety, thanked allied groups from abroad for manifesting their
support to the Philippines on this issue of waste dumping.

“We are deeply grateful for their expression of unity with our country’s fight
for environmental justice, which should further encourage our government and
people to determinedly defend our right against waste dumping. 
Canada’s garbage must be shipped back to its origin at once,” said Aileen
Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.