Metro Vancouver prepares for arrival of Canadian trash from the Philippines

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      Metro Vancouver is getting ready for the return of Canadian garbage dumped in the Philippines six years ago.

      “We are aware of it. We’re preparing for it,” according to Craig Hodge, a councillor with the City of Coquitlam and vice chair of the zero waste committee of the Metro Vancouver regional government.

      Hodge told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview Wednesday (May 8) that the district is awaiting word from the federal government.

      “We’re obviously a logical organization for them to talk to, but possibly not the only group, so we’ll just be waiting till we hear from them,” Hodge said.

      Metro Vancouver is responsible for the management and disposal of wastes in the region.

      Media reports Tuesday (May 7) stated that the Canadian government has offered to pay for the shipping cost of bringing back the waste exported to the Philippines between 2013 and 2014.

      According to reports, the garbage will be returned through Vancouver.

      Last month, the president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, threatened to declare war against Canada if the latter does not take back the garbage.

      “If it does come back, and logically it will come to the West Coast, then they’ll have to come up with a plan,” Hodge said about the Canadian federal government.

      Hodge also said that it remains uncertain how the wastes will be disposed after repatriation to Canada.

      “We don’t even know that this would be its final destination,” Hodge said.

      A total of 103 container vans of garbage were shipped by an Ontario company to the Philippines in 2013 and 2014.

      Labeled as plastics for recycling, the shipment turned out to be household wastes, including diapers.

      The Philippine government has announced that 69 containers remained of the 103, and that Canada has offered in writing to take these back.

      EcoWaste Coalition, a Metro Manila-based organization, said in a statement on May 7 that Canada and the Philippines are state parties to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal.

      According to the group, Article 9 of the treaty obliges a source country to ensure the return of wastes within 30 days it was notified of an illegal shipment.

      EcoWaste recalled that the Philippine government notified Canada about wastes as early as March 2014.