Thousands of volunteers join hands to clean up Vietnam

Starting in 2020, the campaign has been calling for people to pick up trash from various locations in the country, aiming to raise awareness on protecting the environment and moving the community towards a greener lifestyle.

Nhat Hong & Van Nguyen

Nhat Hong & Van Nguyen

Viet Nam News


June 7, 2022

HANOI — At 7am on Sunday morning, Bùi Thị Thúy’s family are already up and preparing to leave the house. The couple and their children were excited to get ready and join more than 6000 volunteers to clean up trash across the country.

“I feel like this is something we must do, not just for me but for everyone else, especially the younger generation,” said Thúy.

Starting in 2020, the campaign Clean Up Việt Nam has been calling for people to pick up trash from various locations in the country, aiming to raise awareness on reducing plastic waste, protecting the environment, and moving the community towards a greener lifestyle.

To mark World Environment Day this year, parents and their children like Thúy’s family, as well as students in universities and high schools, were eager to join the campaign in Hà Nội despite the mid-summer heat.

A group of young volunteers prepare to collect the trash after receiving their equipment. — VNS Photo Vân Nguyễn

After distributing garbage mitts and recycled sacks to collect the trash, the group started walking around the area and got down to work.

Outside their gathering point at the foot of an apartment complex on Nguyễn Hoàng Tôn Street, a moat-like structure has gradually turned into a makeshift landfill with domestic waste, discarded doors and plaster pieces from house renovation work. Old car parts and tires from the motor repair shops across the street also littered the area.

Lê Đình Toản, one of the university students who volunteered in the event said: “Trash has a huge impact on our life.

“At this place, for instance, trash pollutes the environment, especially when it rains, the smell is horrible afterwards.”

According to a 2019 report by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, daily municipal waste increased from 32,000 tons in 2014 to 35,624 tons in 2019, accounting for more than 50 per cent of the national solid waste.

The amount of plastic waste also skyrocketed during the pandemic, putting further pressure on Việt Nam’s limited waste management systems.

Joining the campaign that spans 63 cities and provinces, the volunteers hope to be part of the continuous effort to relieve this pressure.

Volunteers clear out trash from a moat-like structure that turned into a makeshift landfill. — VNS Photo Vân Nguyễn

Toản said: “When I join in with everyone else I feel excited and happy.

“I think events like this will contribute to reducing waste, and I hope that there will be more campaigns to raise people’s awareness of putting trash in the right place.”

Phạm Thị Sao Mai, a member of the organising team told Việt Nam News: “Everyone here is part of a free community without obligation. But all of them are very dedicated, and all showed up on time without us having to constantly remind them.

“In fact, our programme doesn’t have huge funding, so everyone contributes a part. We work on a voluntary basis during this campaign.”

After finishing their work in Tây Hồ District in the morning, the group continued to Long Biên District.

Mai Văn Phán, another organising team member explained that these locations are at the two ends of Hà Nội, and there was a large number of volunteers as they are in the urban area.

It is estimated that in the capital city alone, up to five tons of trash were collected on Sunday. This and other figures from across the country will add up to the 61 tons of trash that the campaign has collected since they began their work two years ago.

Thúy said: “It’s about the impact and our awareness.

“For instance, if I’m about to throw out the trash but then I see that there are selfless people who clean up without minding if it’s dirty or smelly – then others must rethink their own actions.

“And the important thing is the environment – if we want it clean, so do others.”

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