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Trash Shipped to Philippines in 2013 Leads to Threat of War

Duterte is pretty peeved with Canada
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2019 8:49 AM CDT
In this Friday, Feb. 22, 2019, file photo, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, left, and Moro Islamic Liberation Front chairman Murad Ebrahim, right, flash peace signs following oath-taking ceremony...   (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File)

(Newser) – Canadian trash has been sitting at a port in the Philippines for more than five years, and President Rodrigo Duterte wants it gone—or else. Duterte's word choices tend to grab headlines, and this instance is no exception: "I'll give a warning to Canada maybe next week that they better pull that [trash] out," he said Tuesday. "We'll declare war against them, we can handle them anyway." CNN reports the issue is the 2013 and 2014 shipment of 2,450 tons of what were supposed to be recyclable plastic scraps. But inspectors in Manila say what was in the 103 containers couldn't be processed—the AP reports there was reportedly plastic bottles inside, but also things like used adult diapers and other household trash—and some of the containers are still sitting there.

The BBC reports the shipment was made by a private company based in Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during a 2015 visit to the country that Canada could not legally force that company to act. The Canadian Press reports Canada's efforts have mainly centered around getting the Philippines to just accept the trash. In 2016, a Filipino court ruled it had to go back to Canada. Trudeau has previously said he is "very much engaged in finding a solution." Duterte offered one: He said he'd bring the garbage back himself. (Read more Rodrigo Duterte stories.)

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