Members of the Youth union and young people clean up the environment after floods
Spreading The Green Lifestyle
Once a month, Phan Thi Nhu Phuong and dozens of other members of the “Green living for the community” club of Thuan An ward (Hue City) clean up their local beach area.
As for Nhu Phuong, when her club started this work in 2020, the amount of garbage on the beach was still quite large and their cleanup was relatively difficult. At present, things are much simpler with a reduced clutter of garbage. Many locals and groups of tourists have also voluntarily cleaned up their waste after each activity.
“This is a positive signal when we are no longer alone in the movement to protect the environment and join hands to clean the sea,” confided Nhu Phuong.
The model of trash for gifts encourages fishermen to collect garbage on the sea
Mr. Le Hoan Thanh, Secretary of Thuan An ward's Youth Union said: “Over the past time, the club “Living green for the community” has implemented many community-oriented activities such as distributing leaflets for garbage classification, mobilizing small traders at markets to limit the use of plastic bags, launching the “Green Sunday” campaign, and collecting plastic waste on coastal areas...”
“The children of the club were very active to mobilize local citizens. Gradually, people have paid more attention to use less plastic bags and are encouraged to wrap things with banana leaves. Also, the youngsters were enthusiastic and voluntary to clean up the garbage collection area behind the market. As a result, people are also more thoughtful in putting garbage in the right place,” shared Ms. Le Thi Ly, a small trader at Thuan An market.
Members of the Youth union and young people clean up the beach area
The model of the club of “Living green for the community” is within the framework of the project “Enhancing communities’ capacity in development plastic waste management associated with tourism development in coastal areas and lagoons”, which is piloted in Thuan An Ward (Hue City) and Phu Thuan Commune (Phu Vang District) by the Provincial Youth Union, and funded by the Global Environment Facility and the United Nations’ Small Grant Program (UNDP/GEF SGP).
The “Waste-free village” is referred as one of the outstanding models of the project at Trung An village, Phu Thuan commune. The model was implemented with 3 trash-sorting bins (for organic, plastic and glass waste). People in the two localities enthusiastically responded to the model, thereby forming a habit of waste sorting… Initially, the project supported 569 sets of 3 trash-sorting bins for people to sort waste at source, and distributed 629 plastic baskets to shoppers at the two localities.
Ms. Hoang Thi Huong, a housewife at Trung An village shared: “Since receiving the sorting bins, my family has immediately used them for our daily life. At first, we still had many surprises, but now most of my family members have adapted and formed the habit of sorting waste. At the same time, we are more conscious of protecting and preserving the living environment.”
Up to now, through the project “Enhancing communities’ capacity in development plastic waste management associated with tourism development in coastal areas and lagoons”, many models and practices have been effectively implemented by Youth Union’s members and young people, including “Waste-free village”, the “Living green for the community” club, “Young fisherman reaching out to sea” club, communication teams for building civilized restaurants and eateries, “Market to reduce plastic waste”, and fishermen’s “Trash for gifts” campaign…
Ms. Nguyen Thi Oanh, Vice Chairwoman of Phu Thuan Commune People's Committee, assessed that the project helped local people change their awareness and have a more positive view on sorting waste, especially the plastic waste. Upon the project’s end, the Commune People’s Committee will coordinate with other departments and mass organizations to develop a plan for maintaining the activities, with a focus on replicating waste classification models, as well as communicating and mobilizing people to dispose garbage in the right place and to protect the living environment.
The “Living green for the community” club disseminates information about sorting waste and limiting single-use plastic bags at market areas
Combating Plastic Waste
Similar to people in coastal lagoon areas, market’s small traders and citizens in A Luoi highland district responded to the movement of using paper bags and limiting single-use plastic bags. Half a year ago, Ms. Ho Thi Thuong, a resident of A Luoi township, got used to reusing plastic bags after completing her shopping at the market. Ms. Thuong tried to carry a shopping basket to the market and only used plastic bags for some special foods.
“Although we are aware of the harmful effects of single-use plastic bags on the environment, we can only minimize to use them and cannot completely eliminate this convenient form of packaging. Instead, I choose to wash and reuse or donate them to clean plastic bag cabinets located at markets,” shared Ms. Thuong.
Together with Ms. Thuong, small traders and local people at the markets of Bot Do and A Luoi have been making efforts to change their awareness and get used to limiting the use of single-use plastic bags. That was the result of a joint dissemination and mobilization of the Youth Union and the local political system at the grassroots with the model “Markets to reduce the use of plastic bags and single-use plastic items”.
Ms. Truong Thi Uyen, a small trader at A Luoi market, shared that after the model was implemented, women went to the market with shopping baskets. The amount of plastic bag waste was significantly decreased. In the past, plastic bags filled the streets and all corners of the market. However, the market has been tidied up and cleaned at present.
Tran Toan, Secretary of the A Luoi District Union, said that union’s members tried to mobilize small businesses to register for green stalls, yet were rejected many times. Many market stall owners thought that plastic bags was cheaper and more convenient than paper bags. In order to change the habit of using plastic in buying and selling goods of small businesses and local people, union’s members and young people had to inculcate information in local people.
In the period from 2017 to 2022, the youth of Thua Thien Hue organized nearly 19,000 activities to clean up the environment and collect more than 35,000 tons of garbage of all kinds. Many dissemination activities have also been effectively implemented to change people's awareness; such as the contest for “Green - Clean – Bright” schools, the contest for “Preventing and combatting plastic waste”, and “Disaster risk reduction and climate change response Day”.
According to Secretary of the Provincial Youth Union Nguyen Thanh Hoai, the above good practices and effective models showed the pioneering spirit of young people in the movement of joining hands for the environment protection and climate change response, with the goal of building a green, clean, and bright Thua Thien Hue and becoming a centrally-governed city in the near future.
This will be one of the important tasks of the province's youth in the coming time. The long-term “battle” requires local grassroots youth unions to build models of working, living and economic developing that are environmentally friendly and form a habit of sorting waste at source, especially domestic waste.
Youth union members clean up garbage at A Luoi temporary market.
Story and photos: MINH NGUYEN