Cell phone tree sends message
by Phuong Mai
Cell phone tree sends message
One fully lit Christmas tree in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta Province of Tien Giang is sending out a strong message on environmental protection to the country.
The 2.5m tall tree, made of 2,500 broken and discarded cell phones, has 32 layers of "leaves" and weighs 500kg. The tree stands at the Westcom Electronics Supermarket in My Tho City.
Tran Hoang Quan, director of the supermarket, said it took him and his staff eight months and 10 days to collect and assemble the phones to make the tree. The tree would be auctioned at the end of the season to raise funds for charity organisations, he said.
Quan said his company decided to make the cell phone Christmas tree to send a message of environmental protection - reduce electronic waste. He said this was a major issue in many countries.
Cell phone components contain many toxic heavy substances like lead and mercury that have a negative impact on the environment.
However, all materials used in its hardware can be recovered for reuse in future production; its components can be melted down and recycled, he explained.
The company estimates that Viet Nam now has more than 110 million cell phones in use. If the average life of a cell phone is two years, the country will generate nearly 50 million broken cell phones with a total weight of 400 tonnes each year in the coming years.
"We will continue to collect most old electronic items and send them to manufacturers for recycling," Quan said. He hoped these actions would get more attention and support from the community.
"Please do not turn our country into an electronics garbage dump," he appealed.
Santa Claus expands services
"Mummy, I've sent a letter to ask Santa Claus for a doll as my Christmas present. Will he give it to me on Christmas Eve?" a six-year-old girl asked her mother.
The mother, Nguyen My Thanh of District 10 in HCM City, was confident Santa would not disappoint her daughter.
Her confidence is based on an increasingly popular Santa Claus delivery service.
Thanh had ordered the service at the beginning of this month to surprise her daughter on Christmas Day.
"I hope she has an unforgettable day with Santa Claus," she said.
The Santa Claus personal delivery service is offered by travel agencies, souvenir shops and online shops in the city.
This year, the service has expanded. Apart from delivering presents, Santa can also entertain the kids with Christmas tale or sing a Christmas song.
Nguyen Chung Thuy, a representative of Lua Viet Tour in District 5, said that this year, the company has nearly 20 Santa Clauses and 10 snow fairies bringing presents to children from 2pm to 12pm on Christmas Eve (December 24).
The service costs VND99,000-219,000 (US$4.7-$10) per gift and address, she said.
This year, Lua Viet is offering an additional service that combines delivery of gifts with organising a Christmas party, for schools or companies. The price for this service rangers from VND1-3 million ($48-142) per occasion.
Thuy also said the service was now available not only for children but also for adults.
Do Ba Son in Tan Binh District said he plans to surprise his girlfriend by sending a Santa Claus to give her presents at her workplace.
"I wonder how happy and surprised she is going to be," he said, already excited at the prospect. — VNS