MANILA, Philippines – Environmental groups are disappointed over the disposal of 29 shipping containers of mixed wastes from Canada, at a sanitary landfill in Capas, Tarlac.
Anna Kapunan, BAN Toxics’ Chemicals Management coordinator, said the disposal was not covered by a court order.
“We cannot correct a mistake with another mistake. Disposing of the illegal shipment without the proper directives from the Regional Trial Court and without any technical assessment of the waste contents makes a mockery of our laws and puts public health at risk yet again. We hope that this is not another case of political expediency supplanting public interest and safety,” she said.
The environment group cited a news report that said the Canadian waste shipment was accepted by Metro Clark Waste Management Corp., which operates a sanitary landfill in Capas, Tarlac, at P900 per ton.
Based on its website, Metro Clark does not appear to be allowed to process some of the wastes found in the Canadian shipment, which include electronic wastes.
The EcoWaste Coalition condemned the dumping in Tarlac as “inexcusably anti-Filipino.”
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“The local disposal of the Canadian trash amid the opposition in the streets and even the halls of Congress and Senate came like a thief in the night. It’s inexcusably anti-Filipino. That must not happen again. President Aquino needs to assure our people through his upcoming State of the Nation Address that robust measures will be put in place to plug the loopholes that led to such a horrendous act of disrespect to our environmental integrity,” said Aileen Lucero, EcoWaste Coalition national coordinator.
Civil society groups have clamored for the return of the 50 shipping containers to Canada. However, another batch of waste-filled containers from the same exporter was discovered in Subic Port in May.
The first shipment has become a subject of 14 legal cases filed by the Department of Justice against importer Chronics Plastics, Inc. and its owner Adelfa Eduardo.
No court order has been released approving the disposal of the contents.
“It is legally, socially and morally unacceptable to dispose of foreign waste, disguised and declared as non-hazardous, in our very own backyard,” said Abigail Aguilar of Greenpeace Toxics.