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(MONTRÉAL) In response to the Canadian government’s refusal to sign on to an amendment to an international treaty [1] that would ban countries like Canada from shipping hazardous waste, including recyclables, to the Global South, Sarah King, Greenpeace Canada’s Head of Oceans & Plastics campaign said:     

“Dumping our plastic trash on countries in the Global South that are already struggling under a momentous plastic crisis of their own is deplorable. We live in one world and that world is rapidly overflowing with plastic trash. Canada must step up,  sign onto this amendment and take a hard look at home at the overproduction, consumption and pollution of single-use plastic. [2]    Canada’s National Zero Plastic Waste strategy needs to incorporate bans on single-use plastic to help address items well known to be clogging waste streams and choking our oceans, instead of sanctioning dumping our garbage elsewhere. [3] We know that we will never recycle or export our way out of this plastics epidemic.

Greenpeace Canada signed a letter in support of the EcoWaste Coalition of the Philippines exhorting Trudeau to take action to resolve a dumping scandal involving the illegal export of waste from Canada to the Philippines. Greenpeace calls on Canada to demonstrate its commitment to the Convention and to support the amendment.


Notes to editor:

[1] The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal is a multilateral agreement negotiated under the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) in 1988 to establish standards for transboundary movement of hazardous wastes and other wastes. Under this multilateral agreement, Canada is obligated to recognize the risks posed by wastes to human health and take necessary measures to ensure the management of hazardous wastes and other wastes, including their transboundary movement and disposal, does not endanger human health or pollute the environment at the place of disposal.

[2] Canada is one of only 24 eligible countries that have not yet supported the amendment. For it to pass, three-quarters of the original countries that signed must support the amendment. Currently only two more countries are needed for it to pass. The amendment would ban outright all shipments of hazardous waste including waste intended for recycling.

[3] Over one hundred containers of trash from Canada have been rotting in the Philippines since 2013 and 2014. Shipped as plastics for recycling, they in fact also contained household garbage and electronics. Most of the containers remain in quarantine in the ports as a Filipino court has ordered Canada to take the garbage back. During visits to the Philippines in 2015 and 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to deal with the issue but has yet to act.

For more information, please contact:

Philippa Duchastel de Montrouge, Communications Officer, Greenpeace Canada, pduchast@greenpeace.org; +1 (514) 929-8227