QUANG NINH, Vietnam (June 22, 2018) -- Top tour operators, students and NGOs joined hands last week for ‘Action for a Green Ha Long”, the fourth clean-up event of its kind organised by Bhaya Group and partners in Ha Long Bay.
Held on June 14, the event differed from previous years in its emphasis on training in zero waste principles for members of the tourism industry, who were encouraged to integrate best practises into day-to-day operations.
The day’s activities were conducted by the Union for Conservation of Nature, Live and Learn, the Centre for Supporting Green Development, and Bhaya Group; and supported by the Ha Long-Cat Ba Alliance, an initiative financed by the US Agency for International Development.
Increasing visitor numbers in the UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site have led to a larger environmental impact within the bay each year. Bhaya Group, which owns and operates several cruise ships in Ha Long Bay, founded the ‘Action for a Green Ha Long’ event as a way to raise awareness and action for protection of the bay’s natural beauty. The event has removed over four tons of trash from the bay since its inception.
Before the clean up began, representatives of each organisation gathered at the Bhaya Group Offices in Tuan Chau Harbour for an educational discussion on types of trash, ideas for minimising litter, and the importance of waste management in the tourism industry. This insightful meeting provided a strong backdrop for the day’s activities.
Over 100 volunteers boarded the Au Co Luxury cruise and later split up to collect waste from two isolated beaches on the cusp of the bay, before sorting the trash to assess the most commonly found materials. Some 741 kilogrammes of litter were collected by the volunteers, who discovered polystyrene and single-use plastic made the up the largest quantity of trash found in the bay.
The day’s work greatly impacted volunteers, inspiring many to work together toward less waste and greater sustainability for the future of Ha Long Bay and its visitors.