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Two tons of trash collected from Ha Long Bay’s shores daily

Wednesday, March 15, 2017, 18:14 GMT+7
Two tons of trash collected from Ha Long Bay’s shores daily

Ha Long Bay cleaners pick up as much as two metric tons of trash off northern Vietnam’s iconic site every day, according to the attraction’s management.

Located in northern Quang Ninh Province and bordered by the Gulf of Tonkin, Ha Long Bay mesmerizes tourists with thousands of limestone karsts and isles in various shapes and sizes scattered over an area of around 1,553 square kilometers.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000, the bay is visited by around three million domestic and foreign tourists each year on average, according to Vietnam’s General Department of Tourism.

However, Quang Ninh’s fast-growing tourist industry, coupled with thousands of fishing vessels operating off its coast, has resulted in large amounts of garbage being dumped into the bay, according to Tran Quoc Minh, director of Ha Long Bay’s management authority for public services.

As much as two metric tons of trash is collected by bay cleaners on a daily basis, Minh told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Tuesday.

Most of the trash is found near the shore, having been dumped into the water via sewer pipes or by fishing vessels operating near the coast, Minh said.

According to the director, Ha Long Bay currently employs a team of four trash-collecting boats tasked with cleaning up eight kilometers of coastline including areas as far as 700 meters from the shore.

During rainy seasons, even more trash is washed up by high tides, Minh said.

According to Tuoi Tre’s observations on Monday afternoon, most of the trash is concentrated at a nearby pier, where hundreds of fishing vessels are docked after long operations at sea.

Plastic bags, soda cans, water bottles, broken fishing nets, and the remains of processed seafood can be seen drifting, while oil scum from boats covers the greenish water.

“There is a trash collecting team but garbage is dumped into the water as quickly as it is collected,” said Hung, one local resident.

According to Minh, the attraction’s management authority spends VND5.8 billion (US$255,000) every year on the collection of trash.

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US supports resolution of East Vietnam Sea disputes via peaceful measures: Senator McCain

Washington supports resolving disputes in the East Vietnam Sea through peaceful measures based on international law, visiting Senator John McCain, chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services, told his host in Hanoi. Senator McCain made the statement during his talks with General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong on Wednesday, as he led a delegation of U.S. senators on a visit to the Southeast Asian country, according to the Vietnam News Agency. The senator also directed special attention at recent developments in the East Vietnam Sea in particular and the issue of security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in the region in general. He affirmed that Washington backs the settlement of any disputes by peaceful diplomatic measures on the basis of respect for international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Relations between Vietnam and the U.S. have become increasingly warm, especially since the two countries set up a comprehensive partnership in 2013, the senator told his host, adding that the U.S. wishes to strengthen all-around cooperation with Vietnam. Senator McCain and the other U.S. delegates said they look forward to the Vietnamese Party chief’s visit to Washington D.C. and pledged to try their best to achieve positive results from the visit. Party General Secretary Trong told his guests that Vietnam always attaches importance to its relations with the U.S. for the long-term interest of both countries and peoples. The Vietnamese leader also said Hanoi will continue to pursue an external policy of independence, cooperation and development toward creating favorable conditions for its national construction and defense, and contributing to peace, stability, development and prosperity in the region and the world. He also underlined Vietnam’s consistent stance on protecting national sovereignty and territorial integrity by peaceful measures in line with the United Nations Charter and international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS, the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Vietnam Sea (DOC) and striving for a Code of Conduct for the sea (COC). Vietnam opposes all actions that defy international law, break the status quo and threaten peace, security and stability in the region, the Vietnamese leader said. He also highlighted Washington’s cooperation in addressing war consequences in Vietnam and called on the U.S. Congress, Government and Senator McCain himself to strive to heal the war wounds and promote mutual trust, thereby creating a foundation for the development of bilateral ties between Vietnam and the U.S.

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