What do you do with used plastic bags, plastics and batteries? Pile them up and wait until they finally end up in a landfill? Some have chosen to bring them to the “Song Xanh” (Living Green) Expo in Ho Chi Minh City.
The annual event meant to promote an eco-friendly lifestyle amongst members of the public was held by the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Natural Resources and Environment on Sunday.
Participants who brought those non-biodegradable and toxic materials to the on-site exchange booths would pocket fresh vegetables in return.
But this was only one of the most awe-inspiring waste-recycling and waste-separating programs at the event, organized right on the open ground of Le Van Tam Park in District 1.
In response to World Environment Day (June 5), this year’s event attracted 68 distinctive booths from 47 organizations, who not only held recycling activities and shared waste reduction tips but also provided environment-friendly technologies and recommended other sustainability solutions.
Giving cast-off items a second life
Used plastic straws, milk cartons and glass bottles are commonly destined for the dump.
Many visitors of the ‘Living Green’ Expo, however, changed their mind when they stepped into the event’s recycling space, where many no-longer-needed items had been given a second life.
“I didn’t have the faintest idea how to reuse stuff but throw them away anyway,” Nguyen Thi Thanh Nga, a visitor, said.
“Contrary to my belief, these made-of-such-cast-off-items flowerpots are too cool to ignore.”
Another guest was impressed by bouquets made of plastic, and some lovely pen boxes and western boots made from used glass bottles. “You have to see it to believe it,” she said.
Other visitors were surprised to learn that non-flammable milk carton roofs are proved to be even more physically durable than those of cement and plastics.
“We bring here today some recycled products, inspiring you to make full advantage of anything before delivering a new one to your home,” revealed Le Hoang Bao Tran, specialist of the management board of the Saigon Hi-Tech Park.
“To diminish pollution, try to reduce waste by reusing and recycling as much as possible.”
Change your habits, save the environment
Tran Phong, director of the southern environment department under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, said even small changes in people’s habits such as sweeping up the neighborhood, tapping off after use and breaking the ‘I don’t care’ mindset can save their surroundings and natural resources.
“If everyone turns a blind eye to a smelly landfill or a running tap, then they will remain there forever,” he said, calling on people to take action to save the earth.
“It is already a tremendous success if people can really make these small changes.”
In the meantime, Ho Chi Minh City is committed to implementing a pollution reduction scheme during a ten-year period as it is facing the uphill battle against pollution and climate change, according to Nguyen Toan Thang, director of the municipal environment department.
Representatives of the administrations of all of the city’s 24 districts, in confirming their commitment to the general scheme, have signed up for the Action Month for the Environment during the ‘Living Green’ exposition.
The pollution reduction scheme, one of the city’s seven breakthrough programs by the end of 2020, focuses on sustainable development goals such as greener consumer behaviors, smaller energy consumption, and increased usage of renewable energy.