​Littering a thing of the past on Vietnam’s Ly Son Island

Littering a thing of the past on Vietnam’s Ly Son Island
Volunteers of For Ly Son free of plastic waste movement collect trash on Ly Son Island. Photo: L.X.T. / Tuoi Tre

A campaign to raise awareness and change the mindset of people towards the environmental condition of Ly Son, an island district administered by the central province of Quang Ngai, is being hailed as a success, with trash-collection events becoming commonplace and liter being considered a thing of the past.

Ly Son Island already has a reputation as a hot tourist destination, but now it is rising even higher on travelers’ bucket lists thanks to the active role its local youth are taking in protecting the environment.

Ly Son with no trash

Since the movement to develop a “Ly Son free of plastic waste” first launched, every pile of trash has been photographed and posted to a Facebook page so the island’s youth can gather to help clear it.

The initiative has not only helped clean Ly Son, but also significantly raised awareness for the importance of cleanliness, avoidance single use plastics, the issues created by littering, and the necessity to protect the ocean.

“Locals used to have very poor awareness of environmental issues,” Nhien, who runs a filling station near Sa Ky port, said.

“However, ever since the youth began collecting trash, everyone, even the beverage vendors near the port, no longer litter.”

Nhien’s vision for Ly Son’s future is optimistic. He even stated his belief that liter will soon be a thing of the past.

The movement to clean the island was launched by Tran Van Quynh, a Hanoi native who has spent the past two years living on Ly Son.

Quynh decided to gather like-minded locals to free the island from trash after he himself had to collect trash from the sea whenever he went diving.

He also created a Facebook group called “For the sustainable development of Ly Son” so anyone who wished to help him would have the opportunity to contribute.

“The sea is a shared property, so no one cries for the ocean,” Nhien said.

“While most people make a significant effort to keep their households clean, the same practice does not apply to nature.”

A volunteer of For Ly Son free of plastic waste movement dives in the ocean to collect plastic waste. Photo: L.X.T. / Tuoi Tre
A volunteer of For Ly Son free of plastic waste movement dives in the ocean to collect plastic waste. Photo: L.X.T. / Tuoi Tre

Nhien and his son-in-law often participate in the movement, where they lend a hand to clean up their surroundings, a much needed contribution due to the rise in plastic waste over the last few years as the island experiences a boom in tourism.

According to the campaign’s volunteers, abandoned places are most likely to contain trash as people come and dump their waste illegally there.

Cleaning up the waste right after it is found directly impacts those who committed such crimes.

The movement is not limited to the main island of Ly Son, but also extends to Dao Be Island, a smaller island to the north of Ly Son which is also cleaned by volunteers on weekends.

In addition to the locals, tourists on Ly Son also participate in collecting trash as they believe it is their share of responsibility.

“It is time people lived in harmony with nature,” Quynh said.

“We cannot have nature carry all our daily waste.”

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