Canada to remove garbage in Philippines

Canada has agreed to reclaim its garbage in the Philippines by the end of June.
Canada has agreed to reclaim its garbage in the Philippines by the end of June.

Canada says that by the end of June it will remove truckloads of garbage which Filipino officials say were illegally shipped years ago.

Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said the government has awarded a contract to French shipping giant Bollore Logistics Canada that calls for the return of 69 containers of household waste and electronic garbage.

"The company will begin preparation for shipping in the coming days. The removal will be complete by the end of June, as the waste must be safely treated to meet Canadian safety and health requirements," McKenna's department said in a statement.

Salvador Panelo, a spokesman for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, held a news conference earlier Wednesday to announce that Duterte has ordered officials to look for a private shipping company to transport the garbage to Canadian territory in an escalation of his increasingly adversarial stance.

The Philippine government recalled its ambassador and consuls in Canada last week over Ottawa's failure to comply with a May 15 deadline on the garbage.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last week that Canada has been working hard with Philippine officials to resolve the problem and hoped to strike a resolution quickly, though he gave no time frame.

At least 103 containers of household trash, including plastic bottles and bags, newspapers and diapers, were shipped in batches from Canada to the Philippines from 2013 to 2014. Filipino authorities have already dealt with 34.

Most of the other 69 containers are in two ports in Manila and northern Subic Freeport, sparking protests from environmental activists.

Philippine officials say all the containers were falsely declared by a private firm as recyclable plastic scraps and asked Canada to take back the garbage.

Australian Associated Press