President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, November 4, told Western countries to stop shipping their garbage marked as “recyclables” to developing Asian countries, listing the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia among the nations that have become dumping grounds for hazardous trash from the West.
“If we are talking about improving the ecology of the place, the environment, then we must take into account what we dump,” Duterte said during the Special Lunch on Sustainable Development at the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Thailand.
“I think, Mr. Chair, this is as good as any other time and any place to tell the other countries, the Western countries, to be more circumspect,” he added.
A few years ago, Canada drew the ire of the president when the country shipped more than 2,000 tons of hazardous wastes to the Philippines. The two countries’ years-long diplomatic row only ended in May, when Duterte ordered the Western country to take back 69 containers of trash.
“When I was told that this garbage has been sent to us by some counties, I ordered immediately that they’d be shipped out on the first ship going to the North American continent. And I told them that if they do not accept their garbage, then you just drop the container near their ports,” Duterte said.
During the summit, he also gave the suggestion of conducting regular meetings to gather opinions and recommendations from experts as well as discourage developed nations from shipping their trash to Asia.