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Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay grapples with floating styrofoam buoys

Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay grapples with floating styrofoam buoys

Sunday, April 09, 2023, 12:20 GMT+7
Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay grapples with floating styrofoam buoys
The Ha Long Bay management board mobilized its employees to collect styrofoam buoys floating on the waters off Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Hoang Quynh / Tuoi Tre

Officials are getting into a fight against a huge volume of styrofoam waste floating on the waters off Ha Long Bay, a famously beautiful tourist site in Quang Ninh Province, northern Vietnam.

Styrofoam is a kind of light soft plastic used to make buoys, containers, and boxes.

Many pieces of styrofoam buoys have been scattered in the waters of Ha Long Bay, disappointing visitors, so local authorities must initiate a crusade to collect the waste.

The Ha Long Bay management board said that most of the floating styrofoam waste came from seafood farming households. They dumped used styrofoam buoys in the waters after removing or relocating fish cages.

Boats and barges were also mobilized to the styrofoam collection campaign in Ha Long Bay, Quang Ninh Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Hoang Quynh / Tuoi Tre

Boats and barges were also mobilized to the styrofoam collection campaign in Ha Long Bay, Quang Ninh Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Hoang Quynh / Tuoi Tre

It is very hard to discover and penalize the illegal waste disposal, said the board.

The huge amount of styrofoam waste has seriously ruined the natural beauty of bay and disrupted waterway traffic there.

The bay was recognized by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage Site twice in 1994 and 2000.

To address the pollution, the Ha Long Bay management board mobilized 25 boats and barges along with 100 workers to fish out the trash.

Bulky styrofoam buoys made it tough for cleanups in Ha Long Bay, Quang Ninh Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Hoang Quynh / Tuoi Tre

Bulky styrofoam buoys made it tough for cleanups in Ha Long Bay, Quang Ninh Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Hoang Quynh / Tuoi Tre

Nguyen Ba Can, deputy director of the conservation center No. 2, a unit of the management board, said that the center already called on its employees, Green Tree Park Company, and owners of vessels and boats in the bay to collect styrofoam waste, but the work has yet to finish due to a massive amount of the garbage.

“The boats have been transporting the waste nonstop to the shore,” Can said.

“Tons of styrofoam waste was collected each day.

“It took much time and money spent on the cleanup owing to the bulky styrofoam buoys.”

Tons of styrofoam buoys are collected and transported to the shore in Ha Long City, Quang Ninh Province, northern Vietnam each day. Photo: Hoang Quynh / Tuoi Tre

Tons of styrofoam buoys are collected and transported to the shore in Ha Long City, Quang Ninh Province, northern Vietnam each day. Photo: Hoang Quynh / Tuoi Tre

Extensive styrofoam collection campaign

The Ha Long City People’s Committee launched an extensive styrofoam collection campaign on Saturday, with the participation of police officers, soldiers, young volunteers, locals, and representatives of enterprises.

On the day, eight boats, 20 barges, and dozens of people joined the crusade to remove trash stretching from Dam Bac Islet to the area of Ho Dong Tien Cave, Luot Mountain, Chan Voi, and Tung Lam.

Huge amounts of floating styrofoam waste have disappointed tourists to Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Hoang Quynh / Tuoi Tre

Huge amounts of floating styrofoam waste have disappointed tourists to Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Hoang Quynh / Tuoi Tre

Nguyen Tuan Minh, vice-chairman of Ha Long City, said that the city had asked seafood farming households to proactively clean the waters of the bay after they removed and relocated fish cages.

After the cleanup program, the city will roll out a long-term maritime environmental protection campaign, starting from April 21.

“We expect the campaign to raise awareness of environmental protection among fish farmers,” Minh said.

Apart from the cleanup, the city ordered officials to remove illegal fish cages in the bay prior to April 15.

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Tieu Bac - Tien Thang / Tuoi Tre News

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