Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to “go to war” with Canada if the country doesn’t take back tons of trash a Canada-based company had shipped to Manila several years ago.
“I’ll give a warning to Canada maybe next week that they better pull that (trash) out,” he said Tuesday, according to CNN Philippines. “We’ll declare war against them, we can handle them anyway.”
According to CNN Philippines, 103 containers holding 2,450 tons of trash were shipped to the Philippines in 2013 and 2014.
The containers were labeled as plastics for recycling, but inspectors in Philippines found the garbage was not recyclable. The trash was declared illegal as the private Canada-based company responsible for shipping the cargo didn’t have import clearances.
Some of the containers are still at the port of Manila, according to the report.
The issue of global waste and what to do with it has become a growing problem. For years, developed countries have shipped recyclable waste overseas for processing, bu that is now beginning to change.
Last year, China moved to ban “foreign garbage” as a way to reduce environmental damage. The restrictions have reportedly led to recycling waste piling up in developed countries with nowhere to send it.
“I cannot understand why they are making us a dump site” said Duterte, who warned that he would sail to Canada and dump the trash there himself, adding: “The garbage is coming home.”
The Philippines has been calling on Canada for years to repatriate its trash. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in the past that he was “very much engaged in finding a solution” to the dumped waste.
Duterte often uses bombastic statements. Earlier this month, for instance, he threatened to send his troops on a “suicide mission” if Beijing didn’t “lay off” a Manila-occupied island in the South China Sea.