The 4th Action for a Green Ha Long project took place last week, with a total of 117 volunteers. The event was organized and facilitated by USAID, IUCN, Greenhub, Bhaya Cruise Group in Ha Long Bay.
The main goal was to clean up the beach and gather data for further analysis of the current waste situation. The results will be used to reduce the impacts of tour operators, tourists and locals in Ha Long Bay.
With trainings and workshops provided by all parties mentioned and Marine Program Pacific Environment, participants were more conscious of the situation, and also what and how to recycle. They also developed a better understanding of zero waste policies, and their roles as either visitors or locals staying in Ha Long Bay.
The findings of the activity shows the extent of the issue, as objects such hypodermic needles, packet of cigarettes all the way from Sa Pa, North Vietnam were present.
Across the spread of 2 beach locations, 182 large bags were full of trash, ranging from recyclable items to hazardous objects. The total weigh of all trash collected was 741kg, a sum of 14,414 items. What was surprising was that merely 2 percent of the trash were recyclable, and an astonishing 98% of the materials found were non-recyclable highlighting how concerning the issue is.
Amongst the non-recyclable were a significantly large number of dangerous
materials including lighters, lightbulbs, glass bottles, batteries, and hospital tubes. Fortunately, no dead animals were found, signifying that the trash was not affecting the immediate wildlife as much.
However, more research needs to be done on this matter.
Plastics are often what comes to mind when discussing beach clean up,but ean ven bigger problem in South East Asia and Africa is the disposal of polystyrene.
This poisonous substance is harmful for both humans and the environment. It also is the cause of several concerning environmental problems.
Polystyrene does not biodegrade, instead, it breaks into tiny particles that are inhaled by the animals. This means that the chemical is getting into our food-chain.
Although the 4th Halong Bay clean up was a successful one, to battle this environment problem, obviously, more is needed to be done and at a wider scal.