Garbage spread all over Cam Ranh Bay's tourist island

By Bui Toan   December 16, 2022 | 08:00 pm PT
Garbage spread all over Cam Ranh Bay's tourist island
Garbage at Binh Ba Island off Vietnam's central coast on December 11, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Bui Nhan
The water surrounding Binh Ba Island in central Vietnam is covered with garbage discarded by locals or that floated there from other places.

Thanks to a business trip, Doan Nam, 35, had an opportunity to return to Binh Ba Island a few days ago after being away for two years. Unfortunately, the trip home shocked him as the island, which lies 60km from Nha Trang, was covered with trash.

"While on a boat traveling to the island, I saw many floating fish farms, and in many cases people on those farms just threw all the trash directly into the sea," he said.

Covering around three square kilometers, Binh Ba is not very far from a military base in Cam Ranh Bay.

The central government ruled in 2015 that tourism services are not allowed on the island to ensure national security. However, local people have continued to organize tours and various services for tourists visiting the area.

These days, various types of solid garbage, including plastic bottles and bags and foam boxes can be seen floating along the island's coast, especially at the wharf.

Islander Nguyen Thi Man said garbage from other places flows to Binh Ba from October to February every year.

"Most of the waste is plastic bags, foam boxes, household items and even animal carcasses, so I think it could be from the mainland," she said.

Nguyen An, chairman of Cam Ranh Town's Cam Binh Commune, which manages the island, said garbage overload has been a problem for the island for several years now.

Every week, local authorities have the garbage collected, but it soon returns to cover the island.

An said in the first week of December alone, the commune collected 20 tons of plastic garbage, but that five days later more garbage arrived.

"Binh Ba Island is like a funnel to catch all floating materials on Cam Ranh Bay," An said. "Even water hyacinth found only in rivers also drifts to the island." He added that the locality has spent hundreds of millions of dong (VND100 million = US$4,238) every year to remove the garbage, but so far the government has not been able to completely solve the problem.

An said the island has a waste treatment facilty with a capacity of about three tons per day. However, during the season when garbage floats to the island, the facility is always overloaded.

Garbage often drifts to the island in the rainy season, so it is difficult to burn and destroy. In addition, garbage collection on the island is still done manually and the locality is not equipped with any specialized vessel to scrape solid waste in the water around the wharf.

"Normally, the garbage only drifts to the island for a period of four months each year, so many people believe that it would be a waste of money to buy such a vessel, not to mention the maintenance cost," said An.

An admitted that in addition to garbage coming from other places, the island is also being suffocated by trash discarded by local people.

He said it is necessary to have more campaigns and activities to raise awareness of environmental protection among islanders.

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