Canada faces case in UN over trash
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—The Basel Action Network (BAN) based in Seattle, Washington, has asked the secretariat of the United Nations on the Basel Convention to file a case against Canada following the dumping of 26 cargo containers of wastes from Canada in a sanitary landfill in Capas, Tarlac.
Jim Puckett, BAN executive director, proposed legal action on behalf of its Philippine partner, BAN Toxics, by filing an official notification of noncompliance by Canada with the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal. The notice was in Puckett’s July 27 letter to Dr. Rolph Payet, Basel Convention executive secretary.
The Philippines and Canada signed the convention which was adopted on March 22, 1989 in Basel, Switzerland, and enforced beginning 1992. The United Nations Environment Program is a partner in implementing the convention.
The convention’s website said the agreement was “in response to a public outcry following the discovery, in the 1980s, in Africa and other parts of the developing world of deposits of toxic wastes imported from abroad.”
Puckett said the convention is “at risk if we do not respond to one of the best publicized, egregious and unresolved cases we have seen in recent years.”
“We ask that the secretariat take up this case and utilize the mechanism [for promoting implementation and compliance with the Basel Convention] as it was intended to be used,” he said.
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) seized 103 containers that an importer, identified as Jim Makris, brought in several batches since May 2013 because these were misdeclared to be containing “scrap materials.” The containers were consigned to Valenzuela City-based Chronic Plastics.
The Environmental Management Bureau reported three of 55 containers to be packed with “municipal solid wastes.”
BOC was ordered by a Manila regional trial court in April to dispose of the wastes in 34 containers and return the empty containers to the owner, Zim, through its local agent, Le Soleil.
BOC chose to use the landfill of the Metro Clark Waste Management Corp. in Sitio Kalangitan in Capas town.
Canadian Ambassador Neil Reeder had said in June 2014 that Canada has no domestic or international authority to compel the shipper to return the shipment to his country.
Fifteen containers of garbage remain inside the Subic Bay Freeport despite demands from the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) for the government to remove them.
SBMA Chair Roberto Garcia had urged the BOC to pull out the containers, which were originally part of the 741 freight boxes shipped here in August last year in an effort to help decongest the Port of Manila.
He said the SBMA issued gate passes to eight of 23 containers kept in the free port, leaving 15 others inside the New Container Terminal 2. Garcia said lawyer Ernelito Aquino, BOC’s Subic district collector, is awaiting orders from the bureau’s Manila office on SBMA’s request to remove the containers. Tonette Orejas and Allan Macatuno, Inquirer Central Luzon
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