The higher we climbed, the more junk we saw
Editor’s note: M. Phuong details her disappointment at the inescapable amount of liter covering Ba Den Mountain in Tay Ninh Province, where she spent a recent public holiday trekking, in this piece submitted to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
During the recent holiday, I went with a group of friends to Ba Den Mountain in Tay Ninh Province.
We chose to take the path through the mountain’s namesake temple to conquer the 986-meter summit, southern Vietnam’s highest.
Our group was extremely excited leading up to the trip – it had been such a long time since any of us had had the opportunity to immerse ourselves in nature.
However, as birds sang along Ba Den’s cliffs, trails, trees, and bamboo, we couldn’t help but be annoyed by the unavoidable piles of garbage we waded through on the path and the hundreds of plastic bottles scattered throughout the grass adjacent to the trail.
I did not believe several of my friends who warned me before the trip of how terrible the road to the peak of Ba Den would be, but when I saw it with my own two eyes, I was in utter shock! It seemed that the higher we climbed, the more liter we came across.
At the top of the mountain lies huge rocks and shady bowers of trees – a place we had heard about and assumed would be great for a catnap. It seemed like a good idea, at first, until the nasty smell of rotten food and garbage left behind by campers forced us to begin our descent earlier than planned.
My guess is that most of the people who climb Ba Den are still in their youth – the same generation eagerly calling for better environmental protection. Yet somehow garbage still seems to pile up at the outdoor places those young people frequent!
My 31-year-old friend, Joaquim Gratovil Duch, a Spanish nature lover and experienced traveler, shared after the trip that he regretted climbing Ba Den Mountain, bidding goodbye to the mountain with a disapproving headshake.
I once read an article about a group of backpacking tourists who climb Ba Den Mountain every week to pick up rubbish.
Seeing the massive amount of rubbish these groups piggyback down the mountain provokes serious feelings of sympathy.
Unfortunately, the more we clean, the more the rubbish there seems to be. Why can’t we bring things to the mountains and also bring them down?
During our trip, we rarely saw a group of friends walking down with a bag of garbage.
"Do not take anything but photographs, do not leave anything but footprints," and "Backpacks carry garbage back" are among the many boards written on the way to the top of the mountain but no one seems to care.