4th Successful Cleanup of Halong Bay Event
USAID, IUCN, GREEN HUB AND BHAYA CRUISES JOIN HANDS TO COMPLETE A SUCCESSFUL 4TH CLEANUP HALONG BAY EVENT!
HALONG, VIETNAM – A week ago today an astounding number of 117 volunteers participated in the 4th Action for a project Cleanup Halong Bay Event which was organized and facilitated by USAID, IUCN, Greenhub and Bhaya Cruise Group in Ha Long Bay. And the results are in!
The idea was to clean up the trash, collect data and analyze ways to reduce our impacts as tour operators, tourists and locals in Ha Long Bay. Through initial training and workshops provided by Marine Program Pacific Environment and all of the above, individuals were able to learn more about the issue, what it means to recycle and what can be recycled, developing an understanding of zero-waste policies and methods.
The responsibilities that we have as individuals, groups, and businesses as a whole were put to the test! This was reflected by the sorting and auditing processes that were applied during the 4th Action beach clean activity.
Firstly, the event reflected the extent of the issue, finding objects such as hypodermic needles, a sealed packet of cigarettes all the way from Sa Pa, North Vietnam, and an abundance of polystyrene.
Across the spread of 2 beach locations, 182 large bags were filled with recyclable, non-recyclable, hazardous and other materials. This amounted to 741kg of trash collected in under one and a half hours. A total of 14,414 items. That’s equivalent to over 10,585 apples!
What’s shocking is that a mere 2% of the materials collected were recyclable.
The clean-up helped to recycle 288 items that would not have recycled. Thus, an astonishing 98% of the materials found were non-recyclable. Representing the imbalanced polarization of what can be reused and reformed into something else, coupled with the rapidly exceeding rate of production of these materials, putting into perspective of how big the issue really is.
Just some of the bags collated in one of the clean-up locations
Amongst the non-recyclable materials found were a significantly large amount of hazardous waste which included the likes of lighters, light bulbs, glass bottles, batteries and, even more concerning, hypodermic needles and hospital tubes.
So, what else is going into our oceans that we don’t know about?
Fortunately, no animals were found. This implies that the materials are not affecting the immediate wildlife in the area by being caught up or injured by the disposed materials, but more research needs to be conducted.
If you think that the main fight is just against plastic, then you are wrong. An even bigger problem, especially in South East Asia and in Africa, is the use of polystyrene.
This material is very poisonous for the environment and for human health, with more and more related problems occurring worldwide. The main issue is that the material does not biodegrade back into the Earth and instead continues to break up into micro pieces which inhaled and ingested by animals.
Refuse or reuse, so they don’t end up in places like this
What is certain though is that more needs to be done and on a wider scale.
But for now, we can focus on cleaning more surface area in Ha Long Bay and more frequently, accompanied by available, up-to-date education for our employees, suppliers, destination management, competitors and the local community.
A big thanks to Michael Greene & Co. at USAID, Jake Brunner & Co. at IUCN, Thuy, Ha & Co. atGreenhub, Nicole Portley Acting director of Marine Program Pacific Environment, Andrej Stein & Co. at Bhaya Cruise Group, and everyone else who participated in this great awareness event!
“Cleanup Halong Bay Event”
Looking forward to the next one!
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