Vung Tau, in the Southeast of Vietnam, boasts sandy beaches such as Bãi Trước (Front Beach), Bãi Sau (Back Beach), and Bãi Dâu (Strawberry beach) and its impressive monuments such as the 18-metre tall lighthouse and massive statue of Jesus placed on Núi Nhỏ mountain have always made the area an easy and interesting getaway from Saigon for locals and tourists alike.
Image source: freepik.com
Visitors can also take a cable car or hike to the top of Núi Lớn (Big Hill) where there is a theme park with adventure games. The view from the top of the hill offers a panoramic vision of the city and the ocean in all her splendor. The temperate climate enables Vung Tau city to welcome millions of tourists each year.
Nature favors Vung Tau with two hills, which look like two giants guarding the city from disaster. Yet, the conflict that Vung Tau is currently experiencing is not coming towards the city in the form of invaders or from the sea or sky in the form of a natural disaster. Instead, the problem is building up on the very beaches that Vung Tau is known for.
Image source: bivitour.com
Beauty and the Beast—How Vung Tau’s Beaches are Becoming Overrun by Trash
In contrast to the natural beauty of the area, the city is experiencing an overwhelming amount of plastic trash on the beaches, which is causing ocean pollution. This problem is threatening the lives of the fish and other marine life, which generate a major source of income for many local people, and it is changing the balance of the ocean ecosystem. On certain days, the shore is literally covered by plastic trash in all forms. As the tide rolls in the trash rolls out and as a consequence the fishermen pull up nets full plastic bottles and bags along with their fish. Locals in the region have grown tired of swimming in a trash ocean, and Vung Tau’s name when it comes to tourism is rapidly declining.
To address this rising plastic pollution in Vung Tau city in particular and Vietnam in general, Chạy Nhặt project was formed by Vung Tau locals to protect the beauty of their home.
Image source: Chạy Nhặt project
Plogging to Clean-up the Beaches in Vung Tau
In 2016, a Swedish native named Erik Ahlström coined the phrase “plogging”, which is a combination of the words jogging and picking up litter. The movement has picked up and now there is an entire website dedicated to the concept and to be used as a call to action for others interested in meet-ups.
Chạy Nhặt takes this idea and transforms it for Vietnam, using two words that literally mean running and picking up trash in Vietnamese. The ultimate goal of the project is to raise awareness about plastic pollution in the ocean through multiple activities such as ‘plogging’, education, and fundraising. The project targets everyone who has dual passion for the environment and sports.
Since its recent inception in February 2018, the project has surpassed some of its goals. 350 participants (local and international tourists) joined the project, over 700 kilograms (equivalent to 1,400 pounds) of plastic trash was collected, and more than 10 seminars with 300+ highschool students were presented.
Image source: sggp.org.vn
Join the Movement to Reduce Plastic Waste in Vietnam
To solve the problem of plastic pollution sustainably, it requires effective cooperation from different stakeholders, starting with individuals. Your support and participation means a lot to the project as well as the local community. If you have strong passion for the environment and would like to give back to the local community while travelling, join the Chạy Nhặt project.
Image source: Chạy Nhặt project
Information about how to join Chạy Nhặt Beach Clean-ups
Schedule: - Weekdays: 5 am every day - Weekends: Changes weekly based on participation
Venue: Vung Tau city
The activity: - Run either on a trail or along the seashore as far as the participant wishes. - Collect trash for around 5 – 10 minutes. This length can be modified at the request of the participant. - Trash collected will be disposed into the trash bins placed along the beach and the local trash cleaners will empty it every couple hours.
Protection: Chạy Nhặt will provide the participants with following equipment: - Fabric reusable gloves - Stainless steel tool to pick up trash - To minimise plastic trash the project uses wooden baskets placed along the beach rather than plastic trash bags.