CHARITY

Saigon’s little expats turn environmental saviors on Earth Day

DONG NGUYEN/TUOI TRE NEWS

Updated : 04/24/2017 18:03 GMT + 7

Many children joined their parents to be part of a street clean-up on Saturday’s Earth Day in Ho Chi Minh City.

The Earth Day Clean Up event was organized by NGO Viet Nam Sach & Xanh (Keep Vietnam Clean & Green) in partnership with the U.S. Consulate General, and took place all over Vietnam with the participation of around 1,500 volunteers, both expats and locals.

On the day, participants gathered together to pick up trash at public places in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, Hoi An and Phu Quoc.

Nguyen Huu Nhan, co-founder of Viet Nam Sach & Xanh, said pollution is one of the reasons why tourists have stayed away from Vietnam.

“It’s International Earth Day so there are groups around the world doing events that are related to the environment,” Nhan told Tuoi Tre News at the event. “Here in Vietnam I think we need to get back to the most basic environmental issue, which is litter.”

“There are so many things we can talk about such as climate change, rising sea level, greenhouse gases, and renewable energy, but in Vietnam, I think we need to get back to the most basic things which are littering and keeping our immediate environment clean,” he added.

In Ho Chi Minh City, the event was held in eight locations in District 1, District 2, District 7, and Thu Duc District with the participation of around 670 volunteers.

Expats pick up trash at the Earth Day Clean Up event in District 7, Ho Chi Minh City on April 22, 2017. Photo: Dong Nguyen/Tuoi Tre News

The event also received support from the Love Vietnam party, which was held earlier this month.

The organizers of the Love Vietnam party donated over VND14million (US$600) to the Earth Day Clean Up event to purchase bags, tongs, gloves, masks and other related items, said Steve Mueller, co-founder of Viet Nam Sach & Xanh.

Despite soaring temperatures, one location in District 7 saw many young “environmental saviors” join their parents to pick up trash and spread the message of saving the environment.

A 'little environmental savior' at the Earth Day Clean Up event in District 7, Ho Chi Minh City on April 22, 2017. Photo: Dong Nguyen/Tuoi Tre News

“There was so much trash and I was surprised that so many people just recklessly threw trash away,” 14-year-old Sung Kyu Jin said. “Stop littering, or other people have to do the hard work of picking it all up.”

“I’m not happy with the amount of trash in Vietnam,” 11-year-old Eliza complained. “We covered 200m and all the trash bags were full.”

Young expats help pick up trash at the Earth Day Clean Up event in District 7, Ho Chi Minh City on April 22, 2017. Photo: Dong Nguyen/Tuoi Tre News

“Keep Vietnam clean people, please!” she added. “Don’t litter because this is wasting money, and wasting people’s energy and time.”

“Please don’t litter, save the environment,” another gasping 12-year-old said after filling up three trash bags.

Two participants cheer when carrying trash bags to the gathering point at the Earth Day Clean Up event in District 7, Ho Chi Minh City on April 22, 2017. Photo: Dong Nguyen/Tuoi Tre News

Participants of Earth Day Clean Up pose for a group photo after bringing trash to the gathering point  in District 7, Ho Chi Minh City on April 22, 2017. Photo: Dong Nguyen/Tuoi Tre News

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