…As Philippines bans importation of garbage, amid trash dispute with Canada***
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on Tuesday donated rice, beans, palm oil, vegetable oil, noodles, mattresses, and other consumables to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) of Bakassi, Cross River. The items came at a point when the Philippines and Canada were bickering over some donations of garbage.
The event took place at the Cross River State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Calabar, also witnessed a massive turnout of IDPs who throng the venue to receive the items.
The NIMASA Director General, Dr Dakuku Peterside said the donation was part of its Corporate Social Responsibility, to complement the efforts of the federal and state governments in providing succour for the IDPs.
Peterside, who was represented by Mrs Moronke Thomas, NIMASA’s Director of Planning, Research and Data Management Services, said that the agency had intervened and distributed relief materials to victims of flood and other disasters in 20 states.
“It is not easy for someone to be displaced from his or her ancestral home. We have brought these items to you out of love and care with a view to alleviating your sufferings.
“NIMASA is carrying out this humanitarian service to show that we empathise with the IDPs on what they are going through.
“The management of NIMASA is very passionate about this and we have so far extended these humanitarian services to 20 states.
“We hope that this gesture will go a long way toward adding nutritional value to the IDPs because we care and feel their plight.
“Disaster can affect lives and properties and the effect can be devastating, especially when you consider the fact that natural disasters cannot be planned,” he said.
Mr Princewill Ayim, the Acting Director General of SEMA, thanked the management of NIMASA for their show of love and care for the Bakassi IDPs.
Ayim, who received the materials on behalf of the state government and IDPS, said the number of IDPs in the state was on the increase, adding that the state government was doing its best on their welfare and security.
“I want to specially thank the management of NIMASA for this show of love and care. These are some of the assistant that we seek from government agencies and corporate organisations.
“As we speak, the number of IDPs in Cross River is on the increase due to communal crisis, flooding and other disasters,” he said.
Leader of the IDPs camp in Bakassi, Mr Etim Ene, thanked NIMASA for the items donated to them, noting that the camp was still lacking basic facilities like portable drinking water and a health posts to attend to their health challenges.
In the meantime, the Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte has ordered a total ban of imports of garbage from foreign countries amid trash dispute with Canada.
Duterte instructed the Philippine Bureau of Customs not to accept any garbage shipment in the future, his spokesperson said on Tuesday.
“The president is firm that we are not ‘garbage collectors’, thus he ordered that the Philippines will no longer accept any waste from any country,’’ Duterte’s spokesperson Salvador Panelo told reporters during a news conference.
Panelo said Duterte gave the marching orders during a cabinet meeting on Monday where the issue of garbage dispute with Canada was discussed.
The presidential spokesman said during the same meeting, Duterte reiterated that he gave Canada until May 15, to ship back the 69 containers of garbage that had been sent to the Philippines from 2013 to 2014.
Canada exported 103 shipping containers of garbage to the Philippines in batches from 2013 to 2014.
34 of the containers were already disposed.
According to the Philippine Bureau of Customs, the remaining 69 containers mostly consisted of household garbage and electronic waste, including used adult diapers and kitchen scraps.
However, the garbage was mis-declared as recyclable plastic scraps.
The Department of Finance said in a statement released on Tuesday that preparations are underway to return 69 container vans of garbage to Canada by May 15, and Ottawa has agreed to cover the costs.
Nevertheless it added that “bureaucratic red tape in the Canadian government has slowed down the process of re-exporting the trash back to their country.’’
“However, despite the Philippine government’s readiness to re-export the wastes, the Canadian government informed that it might take weeks for them to arrange the necessary documents from their end and that they might not meet the May 15, deadline,’’ the statement read.