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Americas, Circular Economy, Planet

Canadian plastic waste sparks diplomatic spat

Responsible Business | Jun 06, 2019

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The Canadian government has promised to pay to remove a shipment of plastic waste from the Philippines after the Southeast Asian country recalled its ambassador. The waste was shipped to the Philippines by an Ontario-based exporter in 2013 and 2014 to be processed, but the Philippine government declared that it was not recyclable and ordered it to be shipped back to Canada in 2016. That did not happen, and in May the tug-of-war between the two countries escalated.

Canada has now said that it will pay a contractor to ship the containers of waste out of the Philippines.

“Canada values its deep and longstanding relationship with the Philippines and has been working closely with Filipino authorities to find a solution that is mutually acceptable. Canada is pleased to announce that it has awarded a contract to bring the waste back promptly and to ensure its safe and environmentally sound disposal. Canada has amended its regulations to prevent this from happening again and is looking at ways to hold the responsible parties to account,” Catherine McKenna, Canada’s minister of environment and climate change, said in a statement.

Western countries are shipping millions of tonnes of plastic waste to Southeast Asia, after China banned all imports in 2018. That year, imports of plastics to Malaysia alone tripled to nearly 900,000 tonnes.

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