British Columbia

Trash barge from Philippines to arrive in Vancouver on Saturday

Sixty-nine containers of garbage shipped to the Philippines, but mislabelled and rejected by that country’s facilities will be returned to Canada on Saturday.

Garbage will eventually be incinerated in Burnaby, B.C.

Environmental activists wear a mock shipping container filled with garbage to symbolize the 50 containers of waste shipped from Canada to the Philippines in 2013 and 2014, in a protest outside the Canadian Embassy in Makati, metro Manila, Philippines, on May 7, 2015. Dozens of containers of garbage are being returned to Canada on Saturday. (The Associated Press)

Containers of Canadian trash that have festered in the Philippines for years are set to be returned to Canada by ship on the long weekend the country marks its 152nd birthday.

The Anna Maersk is scheduled to dock at Deltaport in Tsawwassen with the containers of rot on Saturday at 6 a.m. PT and transported to Burnaby the next day for incineration.

It's the next step in a garbage saga that has led to a diplomatic dispute with the Philippines and drawn attention to the growing global problem of plastic waste.

Canada originally sent containers of garbage to the Philippines for recycling in 2013 and 2014, but there were contamination fears, setting off a dispute.

Three containers of garbage sit near the Subic port in the Philippines. Canada has long argued the trash was a commercial transaction not backed by Canada. (Yas Coles/CBC News)

President Rodrigo Duterte recalled the Philippine ambassador and consuls general last month after Canada missed his deadline to take back the garbage by May 15, saying the diplomatic nightmare was an example of Canada trying to dump its trash on the country.

Just under 70 containers from original shipment finally left the Philippines on June 1. Thirty-four containers were disposed of in the Philippines.

Environmentalists march outside the Canadian Embassy in Manila to demand Ottawa speed up the removal of containers of garbage that were shipped to the country. (Bullit Marquez/The Canadian Press via AP)

A Canadian official confirmed the ship was hired under a $1.14-million contract Ottawa signed with the Canadian arm of French shipping giant Bolloré Logistics to bring the garbage back to Canada. 

The trash will be burned in Metro Vancouver's waste-to-energy incinerator in Burnaby, said to be the most environmentally sustainable way to get rid of the garbage.

With files from Liam Britten and Andrea Ross

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