Canada’s top envoy to Manila said a solution to the ongoing dispute with the Philippines on the disposal of tons of Canadian waste shipment to the country may be forthcoming, adding that the problem is expected to be resolved within the year. Canadian Ambassador Neil Reeder did not provide further details, but said the waste shipment will be disposed “in a sustainable manner and in a productive manner.”
“We have been looking at other solutions where can dispose it in a very sustainable way. I don’t want to put a timeline on it, but I hope it will be resolved soon, within the year,” Reeder told reporters in an interview at a New Year reception he hosted at his residence for selected members of the media.
Around 50 containers of waste from Canada were impounded in 2013 by Philippine customs authorities and left to rot in ports for two years.
Manila has conveyed its objection to the shipment to the Canadian government through at least two diplomatic notes, but Canada did not take action, insisting the shipment was not backed by its government and that it was a private transaction.
Reeder said Canada would not like “irritants like this to happen” since it enjoys “a very warm relationship” with the Philippines.
“It was a problem essentially dumped on us by the private sector and now we are trying to solve it,” Reeder said.
In his visit to Manila for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau assured that his government is “developing” a solution to the waste issue, which has been the subject of a couple of diplomatic protests filed by Manila.
Trudeau acknowledged that the incident in the Philippines exposed a “problem” that “needs fixing” within Canada’s own legislation.
In its previous diplomatic notes, the Philippines urged the Canadian government to assist with the re-exportation of the containers.
“What we have learned from this as a government of course is we have to review our legislation on the export of wastes and ensure that we have the means legally for example to take those to court, those who have undertaken exporting wastes without proper authorization or if there is a sense that the contents were not properly identified,” Reeder said.
Although Canada has a “very good environmental record,” Reeder said it will still undertake amendments to its legislation to ensure that the incident does not happen again.
“What we learned of course is that this has highlighted that we should have better monitor and control with what we export as a country,” he said. (The Filipino Post)