Canada is spending more than a million dollars to bring dozens of containers of rotting garbage back to Canada from the Philippines in the coming days.
Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna announced on Wednesday that her government has awarded a contract to Bolloré Logistics Canada to remove the garbage by the end of June. According to the tender, it will cost at least $1.14 million to do so.
Her office said the garbage will be treated to meet Canadian safety and health requirements, and will be disposed of by the end of this summer.
McKenna also said the $1.14 million cost of preparing, shipping and disposing of the waste will be covered by the Canadian government.
McKenna’s announcement comes just hours after Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte ordered his government to hire a private shipping company to leave 69 containers of garbage in Canada’s territorial waters.
That’s what’s left of the 103 containers shipped by a private Canadian company to the Philippines in 2013 and 2014 and wrongly labelled as plastics for recycling. The other 34 have already been disposed of in the Philippines, despite objections from local officials and environmental groups.
A spokesperson for McKenna’s office said both Canada and the Philippines are considering legal options to target the private company that initially exported the garbage. The Canadian government said the company exported all the containers.
“The president’s stance is as principled as it is uncompromising: The Philippines as an independent sovereign nation must not be treated as trash by other foreign nations,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo told a media briefing Wednesday.
“If Canada will not accept their trash, we will leave the same within its territorial waters or 12 nautical miles out to sea from the baseline of any of their country’s shores.”