The Environmental Kids Club push the trash trolley to collect recycled garbage in central Đà Nẵng City's Hải Châu District. — Photo thanhnien.com.vn
ĐÀ NẴNG — Phạm Công Lương, a former navy veteran in central Đà Nẵng City, has always been proud of the place where he lives.
After leaving the armed forces, Lương was assigned to work as a secretary of the Party cell of Bình Phước Residential Area in Hải Châu District.
And he took to his new role with the same military precision as when he was in the navy, launching a campaign to classify garbage before it was recycled.
Lương’s tactics to gain the support and trust of the community were simple. He led by example, always carrying a bag and always ready to pick up trash, even when he was exercising each morning.
His small house soon became overloaded with other people’s rubbish so Lương sold what he collected and used the money to help disadvantaged families in the neighbourhood.
Lương’s actions paid off, and more and more people began bringing garbage for him to recycle, particularly the children of the community.
“I’ve realised children have gained the environmental consciousness,” Lương told Thanh Niên (Young People) newspaper.
“The root of littering or picking up garbage was from each person’s awareness. This must be built since childhood.”
Lương decided to do more to expand the plan of classifying garbage.
Environmental Kids Club
Phạm Công Lương
Lương set up a football team for kids and played with them every afternoon and used it a chance to spread the word.
He told them about the environmental protection, the recycled garbage and the benefits of garbage collection, which could be used for hiring football pitches and helping people around them.
In 2018, he established an Environmental Kids Club.
Every Sunday, Lương, together with a group of children, push the trolley around the streets and small alleys in Thuận Phước Ward to collect single-use plastic bottles, waste paper and metal scrap.
The children’s small actions raised community awareness on environmental protection. Instead of throwing away plastic bottles, cans, and paper into public bins, people kept it for the children’s trolleys.
The waste was sold to raise fund to help disadvantaged people in the area. Last year, the club earned VNĐ30 million (US$1,290) from selling the garbage. In the six months of this year, the club has earned more than VNĐ3 million ($129).
The number of children in the club has risen to 24, ageing between eight and 12. The trash trolleys and the children in green shirts – the club’s uniform – are a regular sight patrolling the streets of Hải Châu District.
Trần Thanh Khiêm, a club member said he was happy to join the club.
He said he was a little tired, but he was happy as it could help protect the environment.
Lương said the club has taught the children about the environmental protection and the awareness of a clean and green country.
Hà Ngọc Đức, head of the Hải Châu District's Natural Resources and Environment Office said the office, in collaboration with Đà Nẵng City’s Urban Environment Company, has implemented a pilot plan of collecting recycled trash on Wednesdays and Sundays.
Đức said the plan would gradually help local residents create the habit of classifying waste. Currently, Hoà Cường Nam and Hải Châu 1 wards have built a recycled waste depot. The office would research a method of purchasing recycled waste to encourage people to join the waste classification.
In the first six months of this year, Hải Châu District has collected over VNĐ400 million (US$17,200) from waste classification. The money has been used for environmental protection purposes.
During his time in the navy, Lương was used to keeping things ship-shape and in order. Now he has left, nothing really has changed as Lương continues to serve the nation the best way he can. — VNS