Ship with Canadian trash to leave Subic Today

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SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — The ship contracted by the Canadian government to haul back tons of garbage arrived at the Port of Subic here Thursday and is expected to leave today, May 31.

The MV Bavaria arrived at the New Container Terminal (NCT) in Subic Bay around 1:30 p.m. to load all the 69 containers of garbage, which were illegally shipped to the Philippines in 2013.

The ship, 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 a.m.

The containers were part of the 103 container vans of garbage brought to Manila and Subic between 2013 and 2014 and were labeled as recyclable materials but later turned out to be trash.

Last week, the remaining 69 container vans were all gathered at the Subic’s NCT where they were 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 that reside inside.

The “repatriation” of the garbage is the fulfillment of the Canadian government’s commitment made last month to bring the remaining waste back to Canada.

Wilma Eisma, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chairman and administrator, said she is glad the containers will be out of Subic.

“This is a very significant date for SBMA as this problem on imported garbage is already resolved for good,” Eisma said.

Before this, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. reportedly announced through Twitter that all garbage containers were cleaned and ready to go by May 30.

The loading of the garbage into the ship started at 3 p.m. and would last until 11 p.m. on Thursday or 1:00 a.m. today. The ship will sail out of Subic Bay after.

Reporters 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 a.m. Friday.

Meanwhile, local non-governmental organization (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 call on the government to ban all waste shipments from entering the Philippines and to stand up for sovereignty by telling developed countries that the Philippines is not a garbage dump.

The group, all wearing red t-shirts staged a noontime peaceful rally on the road leading to the NCT in Subic Freeport to protest the dumping of garbage in the Philippines from other countries like Canada.

Protesters hold small placards with words “We are not your garbage dump,” “Pilipinas hindi tapunan ng basura” (the Philippines is not a dumping ground), and a yellow streamer with “Never Again. Ban waste imports to stop pollution.” -PNA

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