HCM City — The New Year is the time to say: “Out with the old, in with the new”.
As Tết (Lunar New Year) approaches, many people are tidying and decorating their homes in preparation for the most important holiday of the year. Most Vietnamese people believe that a neat and clean house brings luck and happiness in the New Year.
The traditional practice, however, worries many urban residents as they struggle to find a place to throw away bulky waste like old furniture and electronic devices.
In many localities in Việt Nam, there is a lack of clear instructions for disposing of such waste.
In some cases, as the cost to hire proper waste disposable units is expensive, many people opt to stealthily put their waste on the side of the road or other public places - as long as it is out of the house, most people don't care where it goes.
This is the cause of illegal waste dumps sprouting up like mushrooms around the side of roads, obstructing traffic and causing environmental pollution.
A site to drop-off bulky waste in Phú Nhuận District. — VNS Photo
The authorities in Phú Nhuận District, HCM City, have come up with a creative solution.
Imitating the lyrics in the new song Mang tiền về cho mẹ by the famous rapper Đen Vâu, the district authority has launched a campaign dubbed “Mang rác lên phường, đừng mang rác ra đường!” (literally translated as: ‘Please bring waste to the ward authority, don’t bring them to the road).
The campaign is underway in all 13 wards of the district, free of charge.
Phạm Bảo Toàn, head of Natural Resources and Environment Division of the Phú Nhuận District People’s Committee, said the programme is in response to a campaign launched by the municipal Party Committee asking residents to protect the environment.
He told Tuổi trẻ (Youth) newspaper: “We have found that in the run-up to Tết people often replace home equipment and furniture. This means old bulky items are thrown away in large quantities.
“Phú Nhuận District used to advise contacting sanitation units to collect big waste but it was still secretly thrown onto the street.
“In this programme, each ward will set up a place for people to bring garbage to, and then the district public forces will collect them. People don’t have to pay anything, the cost is completely borne by the district.”
In many wards of Phú Nhuận District, the ward offices have become the places to gather those waste.
Advertised through leaflets and social networks, the campaign has been warmly received by residents.
Residents of Phú Nhuận District bring their waste to a collection point. — VNS Photo
Trần Hà Lan, a resident of Ward 11, told the Vietnam News Agency: “Every time we tidy up the house for Tết, we have to hire a three-wheel vehicle and driver to take the waste away, which is difficult and costly. So I find this programme very good and helpful.”
Another resident, Phan Thị Phi Nhạn, said: “For my family, it is very difficult to throw away these bulky things. Sometimes we just put them here in the lobby which is inconvenient and affects the public space. So I am very happy the local authority is collecting solid and bulky waste free of charge.”
The programme will be continued throughout 2022.
Toàn from the district People’s Committee added: “We will organise the programme once a month. We will launch an app on mobile phones so that people can sell their scraps to collecting units.
“The importance of this programme is to collect all kinds of hazardous garbage. The demand for electronic devices is high, but when they are out of order people have no place to dispose of them and so throw them away which harms the environment. The district is trying to popularise information so that more people will know about the programme,” he said.
Cao Văn Tuấn, a representative of HCM City Urban Environment Co., Ltd said the company also collect and handle bulky waste but with a fee.
“The cost is not fixed but depends on the agreement between customers and the company, depending on the amount of garbage and transporting distance.
“People can contact the company by phone. District public utility companies and private garbage collectors also accept this type of waste. If possible, people can take bulky garbage directly to the company's waste transfer stations, to save transportation costs," he said. — VNS