|Members of Biên Hòa Xanh Group drag waste out of a canal.—VNA/VNS Photo Lê Xuân|
ĐỒNG NAI — Nguyễn Hồng Sơn wears protective clothing and wades through a dirty canal.
Sơn is one of a team of volunteers cleaning waste in the southern province of Đồng Nai’s Biên Hòa City.
A member of Biên Hòa Xanh Group, he said he decided to join the volunteers after seeing volunteers making canals more beautiful.
Sơn said: “I did feel a little scared when I waded into a canal for the first time.”
But when he saw his teammates worked very enthusiastically, the fear disappeared, he said.
"I participate with the purpose of protecting the environment, and at the same time spreading the action so that everyone can work together to protect the environment, then the canals and ditches in the city are no longer clogged with garbage," Sơn added.
Nguyễn Nhật Tuấn, head of the group said he lived in the city’s Trảng Dài Ward and he worked in HCM City.
On his daily commute, he saw many sections of canals full of garbage. This inspired him to volunteer.
He said at first, only few members joined him, then, the group became known to many people thanks to its practical actions, and many people signed up.
The group was established since July 2023. It has launched more than 20 campaigns, treating over 10 tonnes of waste in four wards of Quyết Thắng, Tân Tiến, Trảng Dài and Bửu Hòa, as well as Biên Hòa City.
The group has more than 100 members so far after more than four months of operation. They work every weekend cleaning local canals.
Tuấn said through this work, he and his teammates want to spread the message of "stop littering" to everyone.
After being discharged, waste, if not be cleaned up, would accumulate and seep into the ground and then people would use that polluted water source, he said.
Long-term waste would become an obstacle to the flow in canals, creating a foul smell and being the main cause of the current flooding situation when it rained, he said.
Not afraid of difficulties
|Members of Biên Hòa Xanh Group pick up waste in a local canal in the southern province of Đồng Nai’s Biên Hòa City. VNA/VNS Photo Lê Xuân|
Mai Thuý Quỳnh, a member of the group, said currently, they have not been vaccinated against tetanus or cholera.
Due to the nature of the job, when going in the water or working on banks to collect waste, they often find sharp ceramics and needles, she said.
Sometimes, stepping on the items was unavoidable, she said.
Protective suits they wear are often torn, so when the members encountered deep water, they leaked causing inconveniences.
“Despite many difficulties, the members are still not discouraged and work hard every weekend with the desire to spread the message of environmental protection,” she said.
Nguyễn Tiến Khang, a member of the group, said that protecting the environment was the responsibility of every person.
“The group works hard not only to clean up one place, but also to encourage everyone to work together to protect their own living environment,” he said.
Phạm Thị Vân, a resident living the city’s Cầu Sắc Ward, said the local canal, where she lived, was stuck with garbage for many year, preventing its flow.
Currently, the canal had been cleaned up by the group, she said.
“I wish all the members of the group stay healthy and maintain their enthusiastic spirit to protect the environment,” she said.
She and other local people would try to protect and preserve the canal well, she said.
Nguyễn Xuân Thanh, deputy chairman of the People's Committee of the city highly appreciated the contributions to environmental protection of the group.
“Volunteers have done a very useful work for society,” he said.
The group had returned a green, clean and beautiful environment to many areas in the city, he said, adding that the city would support more equipment so that the group had better working conditions in the future, he added.
He also suggested local wards and communes, especially, youth union members, to learn and replicate the model, so that each locality would have volunteer teams to protect the environment, building the city to become a green, clean, beautiful and worth living city. — VNS