Monday, December 17 2018

VietNamNews

Ha Noi bridge under garbage attack

Update: August, 05/2018 - 09:00
Life on the edge: The neighborhood, which stands behind Long Biên market, is one of the most polluted spots in Hà Nội, Việt Nam. Hundreds of families reside here due to extreme poverty, a result of the city’s rapid urbanisation. — VNS Photos Nguyễn Hiếu
Viet Nam News

A bridge in the capital city survived bombs during the American War of destruction.

However, it has been reeling under an invasion of garbage that has gathered underneath it.

The garbage makes life difficult for people who live under the bridge.

It is there because, sadly, many of these residents do not obey environmental laws.

Paul Kennedy reports.

A sign on the banks of the canal that runs parallel to Long Biên Bridge reads: “Môi trường hôm nay, Cuộc sống ngày mai”. It roughly translates to “Environment today, life tomorrow”.


This is the official way of telling those that live here not to throw their waste into the water. Unfortunately, the message isn’t hitting home.


As hundreds of thousands of mopeds cross the cantilever structure each day and tourists happily pose for selfies on this landmark bridge, the lives of those living below often goes unnoticed.


But what is clear to see is the amount of garbage clogging up the canal. The stench is unbearable to those visiting, but just part and parcel of everyday life for the people that call this place home.


“If you look over the other side it is so stunning, it is just such a shame when you look over this side and you see the state of it to be honest,” said Michaela Webb, a tourist visiting Việt Nam from Liverpool in the United Kingdom.


“Hopefully the next generation can be educated more about recycling and maybe it can be improved over time. It would be such a shame to see it get any worse than it is now.”


Those in power know this, and are doing what they can to improve the quality of life for the people that live here. But with so many people living and working in the area, many have a blatant disregard for the authorities who are paddling upstream when it comes to keeping the community clean and tidy.

Trần Thị Thìn, 68, has lived there for 20 years. 


“The living conditions are unsuitable, but we have to accept it,” she said.


“I know that it’s complicated. From the living conditions to the neighbours, everything just doesn’t suit me. People often argue, but we yield to avoid conflict.


“Yes, the smell is too strong. Since we can’t do anything, we just leave it like that to keep on living. If I were still strong, I wouldn’t live like this.”

Thìn, like many others living in this community, is thankful for what she’s got. And locals do believe the area is showing signs of improvement.


“It’s cleaner. Before, the vegetation grew as tall as a man.”


Bùi Văn Khuê, 50, has lived in the area for four years. For him, it’s convenient as it is close to the market where he works.


“I’ve lived here for quite a while, and I’ve got used to it,” Khuê said.


“When I first came here, I felt uncomfortable, but now I’m used to it. You live for a few years and things become normal. The more you live, the more you’ll get used to it.”


“The authorities recently have cleaned up a lot. They collect trash and carry it away.


“They encourage the young (to collect garbage), even foreigners come here too. Overall, the situation is better now.”


Long Biên Bridge was built between 1899 and 1902, by French architects Daydé & Pillé and opened in 1903. Before Việt Nam’s independence in 1945, it was called Paul Doumer Bridge, named after the then Governor-General of French Indochina.

When it opened it was one of the longest bridges in the whole of Asia and due to its critical position crossing the Red River, is was heavily bombed during the American war of destruction against North Việt Nam but remained largely intact, a fact that is often celebrated in poetry and song.


There are plans to transform the structure into a walking street, to encourage more tourists to visit, and open cafés along it.


But before any such plans are completed, the authorities know first they must tackle the problems below.


Nguyễn Văn Hưng is deputy chairman of Phúc Xá Ward, Ba Đình District, Hà Nội. He warned that fines would be issued for those caught illegally dumping waste.


Often people who are caught in the act of dumping garbage ignore officials and take no notice of the many warning signs on the banks of the canal.


“The garbage behind Long Biên wholesale market and under the bridge comes from the local households who are mostly workers in the market,” Hưng said. 


“It obviously affects the environment here.


“People are mostly seasonal workers. Often times at night, people dump all the waste down the ditch. We receive feedback from the local about this issue too.


“After checking, at the end of 2017, the local authorities have cooperated with the Ba Đình Urban Environment Enterprise to collect all the garbage and put up signs prohibiting dumping garbage.


“We also do communication work to raise people’s awareness of environmental protection.


“After a while, the seasonal workers come, since they do not know the rules here, they dump garbage.


“In the future, we have plans and measures to tackle the situation. After talking to people, if they don’t follow the rules, they will be fined.


“We will also supervise daily, making sure that they put trash in the right place. We are adamant, especially since Long Biên Bridge is a tourist attraction.”


Long Biên Bridge is a gem in Hà Nội’s tourism crown. But for those that live underneath it, that gem needs polishing to ensure they can have a happy and healthy life. 


“To be honest, I’m so old and weak now, what can I do?” said resident Trần Thị Thìn.


“I am just trying to make ends meet, leaving it up to fate.” — VNS


 

GLOSSARY

A sign on the banks of the canal that runs parallel to Long Biên Bridge reads: “Môi trường hôm nay, Cuộc sống ngày mai”.

If a line runs the same direction as another line, the two lines are parallel to one another. In this case the banks of the canal make up one line and the bridge makes up another line.


Unfortunately, the message isn’t hitting home.

Unfortunately means unluckily.

If a message “hits home” it gets through to the person, or people, it is aimed at.


As hundreds of thousands of mopeds cross the cantilever structure each day and tourists happily pose for selfies on this landmark bridge, the lives of those living below often goes unnoticed.

A cantilever is a beam on which a bridge is built.


But what is clear to see is the amount of garbage clogging up the canal.

If garbage is clogging up the canal, it is filling it up so much that there is no flow in the waterway.

 The stench is unbearable to those visiting, but just part and parcel of everyday life for the people that call this place home.

A stench is a smell.

If a smell is unbearable it is too much for a person to cope with.


“If you look over the other side it is so stunning, it is just such a shame when you look over this side and you see the state of it to be honest,” said Michaela Webb, a tourist visiting Việt Nam from Liverpool in the United Kingdom.

Stunning, in this case, means so beautiful that it gives you a little bit of a shock.


Hopefully the next generation can be educated more about recycling and maybe it can be improved over time.

You and your brothers and sisters are one generation; your parents and your aunts and uncles (their brothers and sisters) are another; your grandparents and your great aunts and great uncles (their brothers and sisters) are yet another and your children are yet another generation.

Recycling means putting something that could be thrown away, such as garbage, to another use.

Those in power know this, and are doing what they can to improve the quality of life for the people that live here.

Your quality of life is the standard of your life, in all its many ways including being comfortable, happy and wealthy.

But with so many people living and working in the area, many have a blatant disregard for the authorities who are paddling upstream when it comes to keeping the community clean and tidy.

To have a blatant disregard for the authorities means to feel absolutely nothing and have no respect for those in charge and to do what you please. 

Paddling upstream refers to somebody rowing a boat against the flow of a river, which is more difficult than paddling downstream. This sentence uses this phrase to describe how hard it is for the authorities to do their job of keeping the place clean when the community acts against them. If the community was more helpful it would be like paddling downstream.


“The living conditions are unsuitable, but we have to accept it,” she said.

Unsuitable means not as they should be.

“I know that it’s complicated.

Something that is complicated is not easy to explain.

People often argue, but we yield to avoid conflict.


To yield means to give in.

To avoid conflict means to try not to end up in a fight or an argument.

And locals do believe the area is showing signs of improvement.

When there is an improvement, things are getting better.


Before, the vegetation grew as tall as a man.

Vegetation is plant growth.

For him, it’s convenient as it is close to the market where he works.


If something is convenient it fits in with plans and routines and does not bring about too many new problems.


Long Biên Bridge was built between 1899 and 1902, by French architects Daydé & Pillé and opened in 1903. Before Việt Nam’s independence in 1945, it was called Paul Doumer Bridge, named after the then Governor-General of French Indochina.

An architect is someone who designs buildings.

When it opened it was one of the longest bridges in the whole of Asia and due to its critical position crossing the Red River, is was heavily bombed during the American war of destruction against North Việt Nam but remained largely intact, a fact that is often celebrated in poetry and song.

Critical, in this case, means important.

If there is destruction, a lot is destroyed. In other words, wrecked and broken up.

If something is intact it is still in one piece.


There are plans to transform the structure into a walking street, to encourage more tourists to visit, and open cafés along it.

To transform  something means to change it from one thing into another thing.

But before any such plans are completed, the authorities know first they must tackle the problems below.

To tackle a problem means to sort it out.

He warned that fines would be issued for those caught illegally dumping waste.

Dumping waste means throwing it away.


Often people who are caught in the act of dumping garbage ignore officials and take no notice of the many warning signs on the banks of the canal.

To ignore something means to take no notice of it.


“The garbage behind Long Biên wholesale market and under the bridge comes from the local households who are mostly workers in the market,” Hưng said. 

At a wholesale market, things are sold to buyers who then sell them again.

“People are mostly seasonal workers.

Seasonal workers are workers who come and do a job only for a certain season.

“After checking, at the end of 2017, the local authorities have cooperated with the Ba Đình Urban Environment Enterprise to collect all the garbage and put up signs prohibiting dumping garbage.


Cooperated means “worked together with”.

Prohibiting someone from dumping garbage means stopping them from doing so.


“We will also supervise daily, making sure that they put trash in the right place.

To supervise someone means to watch that person while he, or she, is busy doing something.

We are adamant, especially since Long Biên Bridge is a tourist attraction.”

To be adamant means to be certain about something.

Long Biên Bridge is a gem in Hà Nội’s tourism crown.

A gem is a type of jewel. In this case, a gem in the city’s tourism crown means something very special among Hà Nội’s tourist attractions.


“I am just trying to make ends meet, leaving it up to fate.”

To make ends meet means to make enough money to pay for what you need to survive.

Fate is what happens, by planning or not.

 

 

WORKSHEET

State whether the following sentences are true or false:

  1. The Ba Đình District is in Hà Nội.
  2. The Long Biên Bridge crosses the Red River.
  3. Trần Thị Thìn is young and strong.
  4. There are plans to make the bridge a street across which people can walk.
  5. Bùi Văn Khuê is halfway to a hundred in his age.

 

ANSWERS:

© Duncan Guy/Learn the News/ Viet Nam News 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. True; 2. True; 3. False; 4. True; 5. True.

 

 

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