Vietnamese Youth Embrace Environmental Activism

Voice of America
13 February 2015

Vietnam’s transformation from poverty to a fast growing economy has taken its toll on the environment, but those who will be worst affected – young people – are taking action to change things.

The rickety footpath along Long Bien Bridge, one of Hanoi’s most famous landmarks, is lined with people wearing matching T-shirts. They call themselves “The Carp Team” and carry posters stating, “don’t drop nylon bags with the fish.”

One of them, 22-year-old Le Thi Lai, said seven days before Tet (the lunar new year) it’s traditional for Vietnamese people to release three fish to accompany the Kitchen God, a deity that lives in every family’s hearth, when he returns to report back to the Jade Emperor.

The problem, Lai said, that many people toss the fish along with the plastic bag they came in. This not only pollutes the environment but can kill the fish. The Carp Team’s solution is to collect the plastic bags to recycle and lower the fish down to the waterside in a basin so they can be released there.

The students are not only active at Tet, said 21-year-old Hoang Hong Vi.

She said they also support Earth Hour and are planning a cycling event in June to raise awareness of water pollution. Their work is just part of the grassroots activism that has grown over the last few years alongside increasing concern over environmental issues.

Read more