The gesture was born from an endearing love for the country
Dozens of Russians living in the south-central Vietnamese resort city of Nha Trang have made in their mission to keep the city’s beaches spick-and-span.
Every morning since the beginning of May, Russian national Natalia Stafeeva and her ten-member group take to Nha Trang’s beaches to clear litter from the sand and sea.
Though their mission is voluntary, the group takes their task seriously – donning goggles and snorkels as early as 6:00am to clear the beaches waters of debris.
Stafeeva was inspired to join the group on her fourth visit to Vietnam, when she realized the beauty of Nha Trang’s beaches wouldn’t endure if local residents didn’t step up to clear litter left behind by careless beachgoers and pop-up eateries.
Though Stefeeva believes the Vietnamese people are never short of hospitability, she does admit that their environmental awareness is not so good.
The group’s founder, Aleksander Kulpina, a five-year resident of Nha Trang, has a similar story.
Before moving to the city, Kulpina had visited Vietnam with his family on seven occasions.
His love for the coastal city is what convinced him to settle down in the country, but even he admits that beaches have truly become a sight for sore eyes.
Watching locals and domestic tourists casually liter, he says, is causing serious harm to the natural beauty of the beach and the coastal coral reef.
Both Kulpina and Stefeeva have the same message - stop littering on the beaches.
The group hopes that their daily clean-ups will set a positive example for beachgoers and create a much needed change in local habits.
While the Russian volunteers come from all walks of life, they all agree that Vietnam holds a special place in their hearts.
Kulpina also shared that his grandchildren will come live with him in Vietnam in July and hopes they can experience the beautiful beaches he fell in love with.
“We love Vietnam very much. And we will try our best to maintain our group as strong as ever. Garbage will not do on our watch!” he declared.
Bui Thi Khanh Ly, the sole Vietnamese in the group, shared that the group typically divides itself into pairs to focus on specific areas.
“We are now ten-member strong,” Ly explained, “Besides the Russians, there are some Germans and Japanese.”