Volunteers clean up Bà Lựu Canal in HCM City’s District 8. — VNS Photo Ngọc Diệp
HCM CITY — Bà Lựu Canal, one of the most polluted canals in HCM City, was cleared of waste and an invasive growth of hyacinth by young volunteers during this year's Mùa Hè Xanh (Green Summer) campaign.
The 26th annual campaign was recently launched by the HCM City-based Hồ Chí Minh Communist Youth Union (HCM HCYU) in July with nearly 60,000 youth volunteers.
The group's activities occurred in HCM City and 15 western, southern, central and Tây Nguyên (Central Highlands) provinces, as well as in Laos.
Ngô Minh Hải, vice secretary of the HCM HCYU, said the campaign this year focused on addressing environmental problems and solving practical problems.
“The small actions of young people create a big wave that can spread throughout the community,” Hải said.
Of the goals set for the campaign, seven canals were cleaned up by the volunteers.
Many canals in HCM City are full of rubbish and untreated wastewater from households and industrial production.
For years, local people have suffered from bad smells coming from these polluted waterways.
A team of dozens of volunteers worked to collect rubbish and water hyacinth from the Bà Lựu Canal in District 8.
In the scorching heat of July, their clothes were stained with mud, but they still smiled, chatted and entertained each other with funny stories.
Nguyễn Đăng Khoa, head of the team, said the young volunteers played, shared and worked with new friends they met during the campaign.
“They helped each other learn skills based on their own life experiences, and they grew up together,” he said.
Trần Uy Hiệp, 19, a student from HCM City Technical and Economic College, said: “Awareness of environmental protection plays an important role in achieving sustainable development goals in any country.” The canal waters were now clean enough for swimming and fishing, he added.
Among their list of goals, Đỉa Canal in Thủ Đức District, Đất Sét Canal in District 12 and Tiêu Liên Xã Canal in Hóc Môn District were also cleaned up by hundreds of volunteers. These canals were full of rubbish and had terrible smells.
Tens of thousands of young volunteers take part in the 2019 Mùa Hè Xanh (Green Summer) Volunteer Campaign 2019 in HCM City. — VNS Photo Ngọc Diệp
Roads and houses
Besides canal cleanups, 10 bridges and 40km roads in rural areas were built during the campaign this year.
About 40 students from the HCM City University of Transport and Communications built 300 metres of Road No 10 in District 9’s Long Bình Ward.
Nguyễn Đăng Nhân, vice chairman of Long Bình Ward’s People’s Committee, said the new road was safe and convenient, and contributed to building a "new-style rural area".
“This offered students good experiences that helped them practise their skills more efficiently.”
Volunteers also spent five days painting 800sq.m of walls in the Linh Đông Primary School in HCM City’s Thủ Đức District.
The work, which cost VNĐ40 million (US$1,720), was funded from donations.
Trần Thị Phương, a student at HCM City University of Education, said that most of the paintings featured trees and environmental protection activities.
“Each painting is a message to young people to take action to protect the environment,” she said.
During the campaign, volunteers also took part in communication activities on reducing plastic waste and littering on streets and in canals.
In addition, the volunteers helped build and repair 50 houses for the poor, repaired home electrical wiring for 500 families, built new toilets for three schools, and created 100 playgrounds that help raise children's awareness about environmental protection.
They also opened training classes on social skills (self-defence for emergencies, sexual abuse prevention, and rescue, fighting and preventing fire) for 15,000 teenagers and children.
About 5,000 people were taught IT and foreign languages, and 10,000 new members were recruited for the Việt Nam Youth Union and the Việt Nam Students' Association. — VNS