Enough PR just take back your trash, Trudeau told

Amid a rock-star welcome for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and excitement for his presence at the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Meetings in Manila recently environment activist Greenpeace has urged him to take back the garbage Canada dumped to the Philippines years ago.

"On social media, we can see that Filipinos from all fronts are asking if Trudeau has any plans to take back their waste, which has been a festering issue since 2013. And that is exactly our sentiment," said Abigail Aguilar, campaigner of the environment group in Southeast Asia, in a statement.

"His PR antic cannot cover the stinking Canadian waste issue as long as it is left rotting on our ports," Aguilar added.

Aguilar expressed hopes that Trudeau, who was warmly welcomed by Filipinos on Sunday, would not "let this become Canada's legacy in the Philippines."

"We welcomed him with our usual Filipino hospitality, fanfare and respect, we hope that he will also show respect to our country and our people by taking back their waste to Canada where it belongs," Aguilar said.

Local environmentalists are outraged that a court order to return illegal waste from Canada that was shipped to the Philippines has gone unheeded for more than 16 months.

The long-drawn-out Canadian garbage scandal began about three years ago, when the trash, which is all sourced from the Vancouver area, was shipped to Manila in early 2013 by Ontario’s Chronic Inc.

Although the containers were labelled “scrap plastic materials for recycling,” inspectors with the Philippine Bureau of Customs instead reported finding the containers stuffed with rotting household waste and soggy paper.

The discovery incensed Philippine politicians and environmental groups, who accused Canada of pawning off its garbage on poorer countries.

The shipment was initially described as recyclable material, but Greenpeace reports that the containers are also holding hospital waste, used adult diapers, and sanitary napkins.

Leachate from these containers, or liquid that has percolated through a solid, threaten the surrounding environment, posing great risk to human health in the area where it is being held.

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