The Philippines has started returning dozens of shipping containers full of trash to Canada after a long-running row over waste exports that has tested diplomatic ties amid threats from firebrand President Rodrigo Duterte.
The 69 containers were loaded overnight onto a vessel at the port of Subic, northwest of Manila, and left on Friday for a month-long journey to the Canadian city of Vancouver.
A Philippine court in 2016 declared the import of 2,400 tonnes of Canadian waste illegal. It had been mislabelled as plastics for recycling.
Canada said the waste, exported to the Philippines between 2013 and 2014, was a private commercial transaction done without the government’s consent.
“The government of Canada is taking all the necessary measures to ensure safe and environmentally sound transport, handling and disposal of the waste in Canada,” Mark Johnson, spokesman for Canada’s environment and climate change ministry, said in an email statement.