Waste-Filled Containers Finally Being Shipped Back to Canada From Philippines

By Margaret Wollensak, The Epoch Times
May 30, 2019 Updated: May 30, 2019

The Philippines is finally going to be rid of 69 shipping containers filled with Canadian waste that have caused years of tension between the two countries.

A ship contracted by the Canadian government to bring the waste back was loaded in the Port of Subic, Philippines, Thursday. The MV Bavaria is expected to leave for Canada Friday with an end destination of the Port of Vancouver.

Cargo ship M/V Bavaria waits for loading of containers as it is docked at Subic port in Zambales province, northwestern Philippines on May 30, 2019. A Philippine official says a cargo ship has arrived in a northern port to pick up and return 69 containers of Canadian garbage. (Aaron Favila/AP Photo)
Cargo ship MV Bavaria is docked at the Port of Subic, Philippines, on May 30, 2019. The ship will return 69 containers of garbage to Canada. (Aaron Favila/AP Photo)

The 69 containers were originally shipped to the Philippines by a private Canadian company in 2013 and 2014 as part of a larger 103-container shipment, all labelled as holding recyclable plastics. The containers were later found to have non-recyclable plastic, used electronics, and household waste.

At the time, Canadian regulations allowed such materials to be exported, but the import of mixed plastics and household waste was prohibited by the Philippines. Canada amended its regulations in 2016 to require a permit for the export of export of mixed plastics and waste.

Since then, the Philippines government has been increasingly insistent that Canada take back the trash-filled containers, including issuing a court order for their return, which  reached a peak in April when President Rodrigo Duterte delivered an ultimatum threatening to return the containers to Canada himself if no action was taken.

The Philippines initially set a May 15 deadline for the containers to be removed. When the deadline passed, the government recalled its diplomatic envoys to Canada, including its ambassador, saying it would maintain a reduced presence in Canada until the issue of the containers was resolved.

In early May, Canada committed to paying for the return of the containers, and on May 22 announced that a company had been found to safely bring the waste back to Canada.

While 34 of the containers have been taken care of, 69 have spent the past five to six years rotting in the Port of Manila and Port of Subic. The containers were recently gathered together at the Port of Subic and fumigated to disinfect them in preparation them for their return trip, according to the Philippine News Agency.

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin, who has been vocal about the return of the containers to Canada, tweeted pictures of the containers in the Port of Subic, either ready to be loaded or being loaded.

He also posted videos of the MV Bavaria being loaded in the port.

The Philippines is not the only country looking to send garbage back to Canada.

Earlier this week, Malaysia announced it would be sending non-recyclable plastic waste back to countries it had originated from, including Canada. Malaysian Environment Minister yeo Bee Yin said that Malaysia and other developing nations had become a dumping ground after China banned the import of plastic waste last year, The Associated Press reports.