(VEN) - Nearly one hundred people including Phu Quoc islanders and visitors collected more than one tonne of litter along a 6km section of the coastal road as part of efforts to deal with the island’s growing litter problem.
Phu Quoc islanders and visitors jointly collect marine litter
Rohan Barker, an Australian who has lived on the island for more than a decade, said, “As a father, a businessman and a longtime resident on Phu Quoc Island, I am really worried about the deterioration of the island because of increasing amounts of litter in the most beautiful areas of the island.” He has initiated a campaign to clean up the island which has built its reputation on unspoilt natural beauty. He chose March 29, as the first day of the campaign and called on business owners, resort executives and residents around Duong Dong Town to participate. About 100 volunteers gathered at the harbor on Sunday morning and were pided into three groups in charge of cleaning the public areas around the Duong Dong Beach, the harbor area and the main roads from the town center to the Eden Resort collected more than one tonne of litter in a day. “We will gather on every last Sunday of each month to clean up the litter in key areas on the island, and we also have plans to implement this campaign at local schools, to call for more people and local authorities to participate in the campaign, with the intention to raising the local awareness about the importance of keeping the environment clean,” Rohan Barker said. In addition to Rohan Barker’s campaign, a group of local residents, including about 60 percent of Vietnamese and 40 percent of foreigners, agreed to jointly implement the Ruy Bang Xanh (RBX) anti-littering campaign (www.ruybangxanh.org), with the intention of raising local people’s awareness, especially among students and staff, of keeping the island clean. Nhan Nguyen, who initiated the Ruy Bang Xanh anti-littering campaign, said, “We hope that such efforts will attract the attention of related authorities and communities across the country, eliminate litter-related threats and ensure Vietnam preserves its wild beauty.” Guests on Phu Quoc Island and the islanders completely agreed with these marine litter cleaning campaigns. Many local shops and cafes were ready to provide free clean water for campaigners while some taxi drivers kindly took campaigners to town after the clean-up. Charles Vaught, a visitor to the Bamboo Cottages Resort, expressed the hope that these campaigns would help encourage Phu Quoc islanders to protect the precious resources on the island. Although these campaigns have partially helped make Phu Quoc cleaner, it is necessary to continue raising awareness of keeping the environment clean in the future.
Marine litter collection and anti-littering campaigns launched on Phu Quoc Island have provided good examples for other marine localities to follow.