|The fight for environmental justice isn't over yet. EPA|
By Jung Min-ho
International environmental, health and human rights groups have urged Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take back the trash illegally shipped to the Philippines several years ago.
"The dumping of Canadian wastes in the Philippines is immoral and illegal," organizations, including IPEN and Basel Action Network, said in a statement to Trudeau Monday. "It is a violation of Canada's obligations under the U.N. Basel Convention on the Control of Trans-boundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal. Yet, despite making promises, Canada has failed to take action."
This came after the EcoWaste Coalition, a network of more than 140 environmental groups in the Philippines, called on Trudeau and Canada's Environment Minister Catherine McKenna to take responsibility for the garbage a Canadian firm illegally sent to Manila from 2013 to 2014.
"We are writing to express our support of the appeal made to you by the EcoWaste Coalition … We call on you (Trudeau) to demonstrate commitment to the convention and fulfill the actions requested by the EcoWaste Coalition," the statement says.
Environmentalists are intensifying their pressure on the Canadian government, following the Korean government's recent decision to take back 6,500 tons of garbage a Korean company shipped to the Philippines falsely as "recyclable materials" last year.
In 2017, Trudeau said it is "theoretically" possible to ship the waste back to Canada, but has not yet converted that theory into action.
"Trudeau has promised that Canada will act in an environmentally responsible manner and fulfill its obligations under the Basel Convention, which forbids dumping wastes overseas," Kathleen Ruff, director of the human rights group RightOnCanada, said. "Words are not enough. South Korea has acted on the first part of its wastes and after five long years of delay, it is time for the Canadian government to demonstrate commitment to international environmental law and take back its wastes.
"Environmentalists in Canada and around the world are calling on Trudeau to take action now to end this shameful misconduct."