Hanoi exhibition exposes people’s apathy to pollution

By Ngoc Dinh   June 4, 2019 | 05:00 pm GMT+7

Over 100 photographs taken around the country show the Vietnamese coast is being overwhelmed by garbage.

A man was eating breakfast in TKien Giang province in southern Vietnam. Photo by Nguyen Viet Hung 

A man eats breakfast in Kien Giang Province in southern Vietnam.

This is one of the photos that Nguyen Viet Hung, aka Lekima Hung, took last year and is showcasing at the "Save Our Seas (S.O.S)" exhibition in Hanoi from June 4 to 9. The event is held in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

A landfill near the sea in Tien Giang province. Photo by Nguyen Viet Hung

A landfill near the sea in the southern Tien Giang Province. Last August Hung began a 43-day bike trip in Hanoi, traveled nearly 7,000 kilometers across 39 cities and provinces from north to south. He took over 3,000 photographs of pollution caused by plastic trash along the coast.

A boat dock in Binh Thuan Province. Photo by Nguyen Viet Hung 

A boat dock in Binh Thuan Province in the south central coast.

Hung started searching for information about the dangers of plastic trash four or five years ago and found that Vietnam is the world's fourth largest marine polluter. He then decided to use photos to raise awareness of the problem.

Trash filled the roadside on Nam Du Island, Kien Giang Province. Photo by Nguyen Viet Hung

A woman sitting pillion on a motorbike helps the little boy covers his nose as they travel past a dumpsite on the roadside on Nam Du Island, Kien Giang Province.

Many photos in the exhibition show shorelines full of trash and how plastic pervades life on the coast. Besides depicting marine pollution, the photos also illustrate how people take living with garbage for granted. Some photos show people casually throwing garbage into the sea, taking a bath in a river full of trash.

A man was drying fish among trash in Can Gio in suburban Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by Nguyen Viet Hung

A man dries fish amid trash in Can Gio District in suburban Ho Chi Minh City.

Hung said pollution is an issue of awareness. "Many people grow up playing with trash; they do not think it is dirty. So it is somehow understandable they throw trash into the sea."

An overloaded landfills in Hoi An Town in central province Quang Nam. Photo by Nguyen Viet Hung

An overflowing landfill in Hoi An in the central province Quang Nam. 

People are collecting recycling materials from a landfill in Ninh Binh Province. Photo by Nguyen Viet Hung

A woman scavenges for recyclable materials at a landfill in the northern Ninh Binh Province.

A dead forest with many plastic bags stuck in the trees in Quat Lam District, Nam Dinh Province. Photo by Nguyen Viet Hung 

Plastic bags are stuck on dead tree stumps as three people walk by in Quat Lam District, Nam Dinh Province, northern.

Hung said this is the starkest image for him. "It shows we are living in a ‘hotspot’ of plastic garbage."

Hung is currently working on some other photography projects which explore pollution and plastic trash in Vietnamese islands and fishing villages. He also plans to publish a book on environmental protection.

The exhibition at 29 Hang Bai Street is being held to mark World Environment Day, June 5, and World Ocean Day, June 8. It opens on June 4 and will go on until June 9.

Photos by Nguyen Viet Hung

 
 
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