MIRI: The Miri City Council (MCC) welcomes more Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) volunteers to serve in the city.
A 29-year-old Jica volunteer, Naoko Sumiyoshi of Fukuoka was sponsored by Jica for two years, and attached to the Local Agenda 21 (LA21) Unit of MCC since October 2009, but will be returning to her home country Japan soon.
“Naoko is very friendly and has done well here – we need more volunteers like her,” said Miri Mayor Lawrence Lai in a courtesy call led by Jica volunteer coordinator Yagisawa Miki in his chamber recently.
Specialising in environmental education, Naoko’s major task was to promote the 3Rs of reduce, reuse, and recycle.
She visited schools and private companies to conduct activities and talks to raise awareness on the 3Rs, where she taught handicraft-making from reusable items like newspaper, Furoshiki workshops on wrapping items using a piece of square cloth in relation to reducing use of plastic bags, and soap-making from used oil.
To reduce food waste, she held demonstrations and seminars on composting to improve the quality of life in villages in Miri.
“I was involved in a community project in Bario, to establish a proper waste management system, and to teach composting to Bario folks, and increase awareness on waste issue,” she said.
She recommended providing a constant recycling system in which the public can take part, and that MCC could provide a proper system of recycling so that much more waste can be recycled before the waste goes to the dump site.
“Composting will be attractive to many rural villages as a way of minimising food waste,” she said, advocating proper instructions for the public and constant follow-up to
practise composting at home.
She saw a problem in the excessive use of air-conditioners, which is an issue with low awareness in the country.
“I have tried creating awareness on global warming and the importance of saving energy,” she said adding that Mirians relied heavily on private transports, producing much carbon dioxide every day, so she suggested improvement of the public transport which is necessary to establish an environmentally-friendly city.
Meanwhile, Miki estimated there are about 40 Jica volunteers in Malaysia, with only one in Miri and three in Kuching who are among an estimated 3,000 Japanese volunteers around the world.
Miki said there may be a short-term Jica volunteer to be posted to Miri later.
Started since 1966, Jica is a Japan government-funded organisation similar to the famous Peace Corps of the USA formed to help other developing countries in the world.
Also present were MCC officers Lucas Jangum, and Dayang Siti Nurbaya Awang Kipli.
More information can be obtained from www.jica.go.jp website.