Pollution in Vietnam is becoming a serious issue, as it is all over the world. More and more expats in Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries are getting involved in green projects and looking at ways to tackle the country’s increasing pollution problems. Whilst it is incumbent on everyone to do their bit, in some circumstances expats are well placed to take the lead.

But what can we do to fight the ever-increasing amounts of pollution in a world that seems hell bent on a “live today pay tomorrow” type of living. Here are five small things we can all do, to add weight to the fight against pollution and safeguard the planet for our children. It is up to us all to reduce pollution in Vietnam.

Volunteer in Cleaning Campaigns to Reduce Pollution in Vietnam

There are some terrific volunteer groups doing great work here in Vietnam. They are worth supporting and some of their efforts are starting to have a real impact on the problems. They are also a good way to make like-minded, new friends. Local initiatives here in Ho Chi Minh City do great work. One example is Clean Up Vietnam. Their good work was featured in a recent AsiaLIFE interview with Peter Cornish, which you may read here. From small beginnings they are now part funded by the Danish Government and have thousands of volunteers.

A foreigner is participating in cleaning campaign in Hanoi
Collecting trash in a campaign

Reduce the Use of Pesticides and Stop Littering

An article on the Vietnam breaking news website in 2013 carried alarming figures on the use of non-organic pesticides in the country. They reported that the amount of these pesticides used in the country rose dramatically from 6,000 tonnes before 1985 to approximately 80,000 tonnes by 2007. Such huge amount of pesticides, together with careless littering, have severely contaminated surface and groundwater, thus affecting the life of human and other living things.

Have a look at below pictures to see how these rivers are suffering:

The water of Lu river is almost black
To Lich River
A dying canal in Ho Chi Minh City

Just about every country in the world has been guilty of this. Surely now is the time to look at alternatives to stop pollution in Vietnam.
Some latest technologies are available to bring those polluted rivers back to life. An effective wastewater treatment techno can rapidly accelerate the rate of oxidation of pollutants in water.
Also, by encouraging the consumption of organic produce, farmers will start to see a financial benefit in them not using pesticides. It is slow work but immensely important. On top of that, stop littering. Dumping garbage into rivers, we are suffocating them to death.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

The biggest offenders in the world of packaging are the supermarkets. Their over reliance on the use of plastic is ridiculous. This is a worldwide problem but we can all do our bit. I don’t think there is anything so stupid as seeing oranges peeled, then re-wrapped in two layers of plastic to keep them fresh. It is time to refuse all plastic packaging. A great initiative in the UK sees people unwrapping everything in the shops and leaving all the waste for them to deal with. As soon as this causes the stores to spend time and money they will do something about it.

Say no to plastic bags
Recycling used cans

In the meantime, why not buy a reusable cup for your morning Sua Da? Refuse drinking straws also, they are totally unnecessary and are causing immense damage to our oceans. Plastic drinking straws are an immense problem. Millions of these are used daily and they will live on long after we are gone. The video of a guy pulling one out of a sea turtles nose went viral and has sparked campaigns around the globe.

Ride a Bike or Go by Public Transport

Public transport can be more than a little daunting for expats here in Ho Chi Minh City, but it is not as bad as it seems. Every unnecessary journey adds to the daily pollution. The vast increase in cars has seen traffic that used to move rapidly, now standing still for hours on end. Modern bikes switch the engines off on idle but older ones merely pump gas into the air all the time.

Public bikes for students in Ho Chi Minh City

If you are fit enough why not try riding a bicycle? In fact if you are not fit enough, maybe this would be a good start into getting into shape. Every little helps. You’ll get fitter and pollution in Vietnam will decrease.

Raise Awareness

The best weapon we all have in this fight for a cleaner planet is knowledge. For example, so many people simply do not see the link between their morning cup of coffee and the deaths of thousands of sea turtles. However the link is real and direct. A hungry turtle cannot see the difference between a small jellyfish (food), and a small clear plastic bag (death).

Turtles are choking on our plastic trash

It is easy to simply think that one’s own contribution is too small to matter, but that is just not true. Every little helps, every piece of knowledge shared is potentially another person converted to living greener and assisting in the fight against pollution in Vietnam.