GARBAGE TO BE PROCESSED IN CANADA IN TWO DAYS
© 2019 By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA
CHICAGO (JGL) — The estimated 1,500 tonnes of waste from the Philippines will be arriving in Canada by the end of June, according
to a regional government website, Metro Vancouver, a political body and corporate entity designated by provincial legislation as one of the regional districts in British Columbia, Canada.
The waste will be processed at the Waste-to-Energy Facility of Metro Vancouver within two days in Burnaby City, British Columbia. Metro Vancouver, which is short for Metro Vancouver Regional District (MVRD), is an organization formerly known as the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) from 1968 to 2017. It was earlier known as the Regional District of Fraser-Burrard when it was incorporated in 1967. It is under the direction of 23 local authorities or governments that deliver regional services, set policy and act as a political forum and its district's most populous city is Vancouver.
The waste was shipped from the Port of Vancouver to the Philippines by a private company in 2013 and 2014, where it was initially intended to be recycled, said Metro Vancouver.
In the years since the trash has sat in 69 containers in the Philippines, it has become a pet peeve with President Duterte, who detested the previous administration for not dealing with the problem. Duterte threatened to “declare war” because the waste has increased when nobody was looking and the firebrand President wanted to dump it in Canadian waters if Canada didn’t ship it back.
PRESIDENT RUDY DUTERTE
The Waste-to-Energy Facility was selected by Environment and Climate Change Canada, a national government department, as the preferred choice for disposal due to its proximity to the Port of Vancouver.
The facility authorized to receive waste under the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s International Waste Directive has operated for over 25 years. It produces enough electricity to power approximately 16,000 homes, is the most environmentally sustainable option to recover energy and resources from waste that cannot be reused or recycled.
Last April 23, President Duterte threatened to declare war with Canada if the waste imported from Canada to the Philippines were not returned to Canada.
When the deadline for the shipment of the garbage last May 15 lapsed for the failure of a Canadian delegation to show up during a negotiation, Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin recalled the Philippine Ambassador and the consuls general in Canada to the home office to diminish its diplomatic presence in the North American country.
Canada was supposed to ship back the remaining containers of garbage that a private company illegally dumped to the Philippines between 2013 and 2014.
"And we shall maintain a diminished diplomatic presence in Canada until its garbage is ship bound there," Locsin had tweeted.
“For decades, Metro Vancouver’s Waste-to-Energy Facility has responsibly processed waste material from the international airline and shipping industries, as well as other materials designated for secure disposal by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency,” said Metro Vancouver Board Chair Sav Dhaliwal. “We have the technology and capacity to safely and efficiently handle this type of material.”
PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU
According to characterization studies conducted in the Philippines in 2014 and 2015, the material mostly consists of paper and mixed plastics with low levels of contaminants such as electronics and household waste. It was initially shipped from the Port of Vancouver to the Philippines by a private business for recycling in 2013 and 2014.
“Strict handling and disposal criteria must be followed whenever there is a risk of biological or agricultural contamination,” said Jack Froese, Chair of Metro Vancouver’s Zero Waste Committee. “Waste-to-Energy is the best option for secure disposal because there is no potential for contact with wildlife, and no potential for waste to leave the facility following disposal.”
Metro Vancouver is working with Environment and Climate Change Canada on the logistics of receiving the waste. Environment and Climate Change Canada expects the waste to be removed from the Philippines by the end of June, and it is anticipated that Metro Vancouver will safely dispose of the waste before the end of the summer.
"With one of the highest recycling and waste reduction rates in North America and a sustainable system for managing residual garbage, Metro Vancouver is uniquely capable of safely disposing of this material in an environmentally responsible manner,” added Froese.
The estimated 1,500 tonnes of waste are equivalent to about two days’ worth of processing capacity for the Waste-to-Energy Facility.
PROMPT, SAVE AND ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND DISPOSAL
“Canada is taking all necessary measures for the prompt, safe, and environmentally sound disposal of the waste that was left in the Philippines by a Canadian company,” said the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna. “We are working with Metro Vancouver to swiftly and safely dispose of the waste upon arrival.”
The material will be accepted as Special Handle Waste under Metro Vancouver’s Tipping Fee Bylaw, at the rate prescribed in the bylaw of $250 per tonne. It will cost Canada's national government CAN$375,000 (PHP 14.5-M) to dispose of the waste. All costs associated with the shipping and disposal of the waste will be assumed by the Government of Canada.
Filipino Canadian Rey Juan said the “Facility has some similarity to the Plasco Conversion Technology. At least it is closer to Port of Entry. This might be an opportunity for the Facility Operators to pitch its technology to the Philippines in the future. Let there be light!
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