Making news

Green Summer volunteers clean up canals, build roads and houses

Ba Luu canal, one of the most polluted canals in Ho Chi Minh City, was cleared of waste and an invasive growth of hyacinth by young volunteers during this year's Mua He Xanh (Green Summer) campaign.
Volunteers clean up Ba Luu canal in HCM City’s District 8 (Photo: VNA)

The 26th annual campaign was recently launched by the city’s Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union (HCM HCYU) in July with nearly 60,000 youth volunteers.

The group's activities occurred in HCM City and 15 western, southern, central and Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) provinces, as well as in Laos.

Ngo Minh Hai, Vice Secretary of the HCM HCYU, said the campaign this year focused on addressing environmental problems and solving practical problems.

“The small actions of young people create a big wave that can spread throughout the community,” Hai said.

Of the goals set for the campaign, seven canals were cleaned up by the volunteers.

Many canals in HCM City are full of rubbish and untreated wastewater from households and industrial production.

For years, local people have suffered from bad smells coming from these polluted waterways.

A team of dozens of volunteers worked to collect rubbish and water hyacinth from the Ba Luu canal in District 8.

In the scorching heat of July, their clothes were stained with mud, but they still smiled, chatted and entertained each other with funny stories.

Nguyen Dang Khoa, head of the team, said the young volunteers played, shared and worked with new friends they met during the campaign.

“They helped each other learn skills based on their own life experiences, and they grew up together,” he said.

Tran Uy Hiep, 19, a student from HCM City Technical and Economic College, said: “Awareness of environmental protection plays an important role in achieving sustainable development goals in any country.” The canal waters were now clean enough for swimming and fishing, he added.

Among their list of goals, Dia canal in Thu Duc district, Dat Set canal in district 12 and Tieu Lien Xa canal in Hoc Mon district were also cleaned up by hundreds of volunteers. These canals were full of rubbish and had terrible smells.

Besides canal cleanups, 10 bridges and 40km roads in rural areas were built during the campaign this year.

About 40 students from the HCM City University of Transport and Communications built 300 metres of Road No 10 in district 9’s Long Binh ward.

Nguyen Dang Nhan, Vice Chairman of the Long Binh Ward People’s Committee, said the new road was safe and convenient, and contributed to building a "new-style rural area".

“This offered students good experiences that helped them practise their skills more efficiently.”

Volunteers also spent five days painting 800sq.m of walls in the Linh Dong Primary School in HCM City’s Thu Duc district.

The work, which cost 40 million VND (1,720 USD), was funded from donations.

Tran Thi Phuong, a student at HCM City University of Education, said that most of the paintings featured trees and environmental protection activities.

“Each painting is a message to young people to take action to protect the environment,” she said.

During the campaign, volunteers also took part in communication activities on reducing plastic waste and littering on streets and in canals.

In addition, the volunteers helped build and repair 50 houses for the poor, repaired home electrical wiring for 500 families, built new toilets for three schools, and created 100 playgrounds that help raise children's awareness about environmental protection.

They also opened training classes on social skills (self-defence for emergencies, sexual abuse prevention, and rescue, fighting and preventing fire) for 15,000 teenagers and children.

About 5,000 people were taught IT and foreign languages, and 10,000 new members were recruited for the Vietnam Youth Union and the Vietnam Students' Association.