Duterte threatens war with Canada if it doesn't take back its trash

Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to declare war on Canada if it doesn't take back its trash.

The 103 shipping containers of Canadian garbage have been sitting in a port in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, since 2014, local media reports.

Canada told the Philippines they contained recyclable plastic, but when locals opened them up them up they found 2220 tonnes of "household trash, plastic bottles and bags, newspapers, and used adult diapers" according to Filipino media outlet ABC-CBN News.

President Duterte is now talking tough.

"They better pull that thing out or I will set sail [to] Canada, I'll pour their garbage there," he said in a mixture of Filipino and English.

"We'll declare war against them... We'll fight with Canada. We can take them down. I'll return their trash, just wait and see."

The contents of about a quarter of the containers, which have since been deemed illegally exported, have already been buried in landfills.

Manila trash
Protests have been held against the trash. Photo credit: Getty

"I will advise Canada that your garbage is on the way - prepare a grand reception, eat it if you want to," said Duterte.

"Prepare and celebrate, because your garbage is coming home."

The Canadian embassy in the Philippines said it was working with Filipino officials and "examining the full spectrum of issues related to the removal of the waste with a view to a timely resolution", but wants an "environmentally responsible" outcome.

Ambassador John Holmes said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is "committed and has recommitted to resolving this issue, including taking the waste back to Canada".

Neither Trudeau nor Duterte were in power when the shipping containers originally arrived.

Duterte, who became President in 2016, regularly uses harsh language to describe opponents. Last year he encouraged soldiers to shoot communist rebels in the genitals and called the Christian god a "son of a bitch".