SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga―The 105 containers containing trash and hazardous materials imported from Canada four years ago are not going anywhere—remaining in their current position at the Subic Bay Freeport—despite statements to the contrary by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
No action is being taken on the trash, neither by the importer nor concerned government agencies, two weeks after Trudeau was asked during the recent 31st Asean Summit meeting in Manila what would be done with it.
Vic dela Cruz, division head of the hazardous waste management bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Central Luzon, said neither the Canadian government nor the importer had contacted the DENR office for the immediate and proper disposal of the 40-footer containers with garbage.
The only information received from the importer, identified as Adelfa Eduardo of Chronic Plastic, is no longer interested to return the containers to Canada due to lack of funds, Dela Cruz said.
“I don’t know if they paying storage fee inside the naval base [in Subic],” he added.
The containers arrived by batches rom Canada in 2013 up to 2014, containing allegedly recycled materials worth P4 million.
“However when we opened the containers, they contained hazardous materials like plastic bottles, bags, old newspapers, house waste, and used adult diapers that endanger the health of the people and contaminate the environment,” Dela Cruz said.
Eduardo and her license broker are now facing charges for violation of Toxic Substance and Hazardous Waste and Nuclear Waste Act of 1990.
Of the containers, 28 were disposed and opened inside the Clark Freeport area in Capas, Tarlac, where hazardous materials were discovered by the environment, health and local government units in the area.
Trudeau had called the shipment of 105 containers as “longstanding irritant” between Canada and the Philippines. The prime minister said he is having hard time solving the problem because it was an act of a private person and not of government action, specially the expenses that would be incurred in shipping the containers back to Canada.
Although the containers came from Canada, Trudeau said there is a legal impediment on the part of their government in taking the containers back to their country of origin.