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Man travels 7,000 kilometers to ‘hunt for plastic waste’, establishes Save Our Seas organization

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To record plastic pollution in the waters of Vietnam, Hung Lekima traveled 7,000 kilometers, including 3,260 kilometers of coastline, by motorbike.

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A picture taken by Hung Lekima

 

Vietnam ranks fourth globally in the amount of waste discharged in the ocean, after China, Indonesia and the Philippines. 

Nguyen Viet Hung, or Hung Lekima, aware of the danger posed by ocean waste, decided to establish Save Our Seas. 

“I realized that Vietnam’s sea environment has severely and quickly been devastated. One of the reasons behind this is the people’s limited awareness of sea environmental protection,” Hung said.

Departing from Ninh Binh on August 5, 2018, Hung decided to ride a motorbike alone along the country's coastline.

“I prepared a motorbike and three barrels where I placed personal things and camera equipment. To protect the camera in all weather conditions, I had to put it into a shockproof and water resistant box,” he said.

The Hanoi man faced more than 100 estuaries, and many canals and arroyos. He took a ferry and put his motorbike on a boat to reach the other side of rivers. And he rode on risky roads and faced sudden storms and rains.

Setting foot in a market in Tuy Phong district in Binh Thuan province, Hung saw garbage, mostly plastic, on roads. Local people mostly earn their living on fisheries, seafood exploitation and processing.

Many seafood markets in coastal areas use plastic bags and utensils because they are cheap, durable and convenient. Big amounts of seafood are traded every day, and locals have the habit of dropping litter everywhere.

Hung visited Binh Chau commune and Sa Ky Port, on the famous Ly Son Island, and saw waste everywhere. When asked why they did not throw waste into trash cans, locals said the trash is only at Sa Ky Port, and the seaport was their landfill.

Hung noted that signboards with environmental protection warnings could be seen, but there were no trash cans. Seagulls feed young birds with plastic waste because they think this is nutritious food from the sea. Turtles also make the same mistake because they think the plastic bags floating on the sea are delicious jellyfish.

There are no official statistics on the amount and varieties of plastic in the Vietnamese sea and islands, but plastic waste is easy to see in Vietnamese waters. In 1990, each Vietnamese consumed 3.8 kilograms of plastic per year, but 25 years later, the figure rose to 41 kilograms.

 

Source: VietNamNet

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