Paddlers clear litter from Da Nang city

A group of volunteers used standup paddle boards (SUP) to navigate the iconic Han River in the central city of Da Nang, clearing up nearly 100 kg of assorted waste.

To ensure the safety of all members during the cleanup campaign, experienced skippers spent about 5 minutes instructing paddlers on how to operate their boards. Leashes and safety vests were compulsory.

The campaign was initiated by Dao Dang Cong Trung, 41, who spends most of his spare time collecting trash along roads leading to Son Tra Peninsula, heart of the coastal city. Trung started offering cruise tours on Han River and in the waters off the coast of Da Nang in 2010.

Like many popular tourist destinations in Vietnam, Da Nang, the country’s third largest city, has been hurt by waste generation and coral damage due to its tourism boom.

Trash mostly including plastic bottles and nylon bags often trap animals like this large frog, which was rescued by the volunteer team.

The United Nations Environment Program confirmed Vietnam as the world's fourth largest marine plastic polluter after China, Indonesia and the Philippines. The country dumps an average 300,000-700,000 tonnes of plastic waste into the ocean per year, accounting for 6 percent of the world's marine plastics.

Nguyen Hai Tri Duc, 33, a member of the group, takes some minutes to pull a big tarpaulin from the mud.

The receding sunset tide habitually reveals piles of glass bottles and beer cans along the coast. The area is a convergence point of many beer joints operating near the embankment at night.   

Nguyen Van An, a member of Son Tra District's Youth Union, said: "There are fewer tourists than before due to the impacts of Covid-19, but Han River still suffers from waste polution. I'm very dissatisfied with people who directly litter the river. We hope locals can join hands to protect the environment."

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