Garbage going back to Canada

Container ship MV Bavaria
Container ship MV Bavaria (R), a vessel hired by Canada to ship tonnes of trash back to Canada, arrives at Subic Bay International Terminal Corporation on Subic Port, north of Manila on May 30, 2019. President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered tonnes of garbage dumped in the Philippines years ago to be shipped back to Canada, his spokesman said on May 23, but Ottawa announced arrangements to take back the offending cargo which led to a diplomatic row. / AFP / Noel CELIS

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT -- The freighter Canada contracted to take back its garbage arrived at the New Container Terminal in Subic Bay on Thursday at 1:30 in the afternoon to load all the 69 remaining containers of trash that were illegally shipped to the Philippines way back in 2013.

The MV Bavaria, a Liberian flag carrier having a gross tonnage of 39,941 and a length of 260 meters, left the Port of Manila on Thursday at 7:52 in the morning.

The containers are part of the 103 container vans of garbage that were brought to Manila and Subic in 2013 and 2014 labeled as recyclable materials but which turned out to be pure garbage.

Last week, 69 container vans from Manila and Subic were gathered at the Subic’s NCT and subjected to fumigation, a process in which poisonous gas is applied in the closed containers in order to disinfect or destroy any pests, insects, or bacteria inside them.

Before this on Thursday, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. announced on Tweeter that all garbage containers were cleaned and ready to go by May 30.

The loading of the garbage on the ship is expected to start at 3:00 or 4:00 this afternoon and would take until 11:00 in the evening or 1:00 in the morning next day to complete. The ship will then sail out of Subic Bay.

Media were not allowed to go inside the NCT to cover the loading process. However, port officials mentioned a one-hour opportunity to take photos and video shoots of the ship as it leaves the NCT wharf at around 1:00 in the morning of Friday.

Meanwhile, local NGO groups, including Ecowaste Coalition, Greenpeace Philippines, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, BAN Toxics, and the global Break Free from Plastic movement, reiterated the call for the Philippine government to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment, which prohibits the import of all waste for any reason, including “recycling”.

In a press statement, the groups called on the Philippine government to ban all waste shipments from the Philippines, and to stand up for Philippine sovereignty by telling developed countries that the Philippines is not a garbage dump.

On the road leading to the New Container Terminal in Subic Freeport, the environment groups in red t-shirts staged a noon time peaceful rally, holding placards that said: “We are not your garbage dump.”, “Pilipinas hindi tapunan ng basura”, “NEVER AGAIN. Ban waste imports to stop pollution.” The protesters left the place after a few-minute program.