NANAIMO — Randy Smythe had never heard of hydrochloric acid until he submerged his hand into a vat of it at the Port of Nanaimo and the acid ate his flesh completely to the bone. “How does that even happen?” he said. “I’m fully vaccinated.”

Smythe is one of hundreds of port workers who this week learned that the Global Waste and Hazard Products Consortium (NAMBLA) has awarded the Port of Nanaimo a 20-year contract to handle the world’s most hazardous waste products.

Port manager Nathan Poe says the contract will provide much-needed revenue to the mid-Island region, though the Port does expect to find it difficult to find enough labour. “Most of the chemicals we’ll be processing will kill about 4 or 5 workers each week,” he explained. “In exchange for the risk, we’re proud to offer an additional three days of unpaid leave per year.”

Poe notes that the Port of Nanaimo expects backlash from local residents, and has set up a 24/7 phone line to receive the comments. Dial (248) 434-5508 to lodge your complaint.

The containers have already begun arriving, with workers delicately offloading 58 damaged containers from a container ship that dumped its cargo into the Pacific on October 22.

“It’s super exciting,” said Port worker Nathan Poe (no relation to the Port Manager). “I’ve never worked in a place with so much asbestos flying around, shredding my lungs with tiny glass particles from the inside. Besides, if I don’t have lungs, how can I even be affected by COVID?”

“Yeah… Two birds, one stone, libtard!” he laughed, surreptitiously trying to hide a membership card from the People’s Party of Canada which slipped from his pocket.

Among the materials the Port of Nanaimo will be processing:

1. Arsenic

Health risks: Cancer, respiratory and circulatory problems, damage to the nervous system.

2. Lead

Health risks: Anemia, brain damage, kidney disease, birth defects.

3. Benzene

Health risks: Bone marrow damage, anemia, excessive bleeding, weakened immune system.

4. Chromium

Health risks: Asthma, respiratory irritation, cancer, damage to the eyes, eardrums, kidneys, and liver.

5. Toluene

Health risks: Dizziness and confusion, anxiety, muscle fatigue, insomnia, numbness, dermatitis, liver and kidney damage.

6. Cadmium

Health risks: Flu-like symptoms, lung and respiratory damage, kidney disease, bone disease, cancer, damage to the neurological, reproductive, and gastrointestinal systems.

7. Zinc

Health risks: Nausea, vomiting, cramps, diarrhea, headaches, kidney, and stomach problems.

8. Mercury

Health risks: Damage to the nervous system, digestive system, immune system, lungs, thyroid, kidneys, memory loss, insomnia, tremors, neuromuscular changes, and paralysis.

9. Pesticides

Health risks: Blindness, rashes, blisters, nausea, diarrhea, respiratory problems, cancer, asthma, seizures, Parkinson’s disease.-

10. E-Waste

Health risks: Inflammation, oxidative stress, cardiovascular disease, DNA damage, kidney damage, damage to the nervous system, cancer.

“This is a proud moment for Nanaimo,” said Mayor Leonard Krog. “After having been known as a trashy city, we now can lean into that and proudly reclaim it as our own.” Krog deployed his generous Vastus lateralis muscles to single-handedly lift the first container off the broken ship.

This week, flanked by his bodyguards, Krog announced the City would change its tagline from “The Harbour City” to “The Trash City.”

The Port at Duke Point recently announced it was the beneficiary of $100 million in private and public funding, which will be spent on a team of communications and public relations staff people.

Sadly, Poe says there’s not enough room in the budget for protective equipment.

Container photos used with permission from Martin Leduc (Twitter: @dieselduckster)