Philippines forces Canada to take back its rubbish

John Reed in Manila and Leslie Hook in London

The Philippines has forced Canada to repatriate a large shipment of five-year-old rubbish at its own cost, handing a political victory to President Rodrigo Duterte at a time when south-east Asian countries are increasingly rejecting the foreign waste arriving on their shores. After an escalating dispute that saw the populist president of the Philippines threaten “war” and withdraw Manila’s ambassador to Ottawa, Canada agreed to bring home the 69 containers of rubbish.

“You’re talking about mountains and mountains of waste that will now be restricted,” said Jim Puckett, head of the Basel Action Network, a non-profit that lobbied in favour of the new rule. “Now recyclers, if they want to export, will have to sort everything.”