Getting down and clean: Boy hailed for clearing rubbish from sewer mouths

By Diep Phan   June 18, 2020 | 02:00 am PT
Images of a 12-year-old boy in Dong Nai Province stopping by sewers and removing garbage blocking them to prevent flooding have gone viral.

Pham Trong Dat is seen removing trash from the mouth of a drainage line on D2 Street in Long An Commune, Long Thanh District, on Tuesday afternoon in camera footage provided by a local family.

He was on his way back from school.

Local Ta Huong, 34, was checking her home security camera on Wednesday night when she found Dat in school uniform and with a backpack walking his bicycle on a street with stagnant water just after rain had stopped.

In it, he stops at two sewer mouths, sits down and removes trash with his bare hands so that water could flow into it.

Pham Trong Dat, 12, removes trash from the mouth of a sewer line in Long An Commune, Long Thanh District, Dong Nai Province.

She posted the video on her Facebook account hoping to find the boy.

The post quickly went viral, and many commenters heaped praise on the boy.

Huong said: "What that boy did moved us. I’ve never witnessed such a beautiful act before. When posting the video I just wished I could find him."

As the video spread on social media, a teacher at Long An Secondary School in Long An Commune realized the boy was a student of hers.

Thanks to her, Dat was identified as a sixth grader living in Xom Trau Hamlet in the commune.

Dat said: "That afternoon I removed garbage from around 10 sewers. I saw it on my way back from school and so just did it."

He does not just remove trash from sewers along his way back from school to home, but at other places too whenever he sees rubbish preventing water from flowing into them.

Pham Trong Dat on his bicycle wearing his school uniform and his backpack. Photo by Huynh Cong Lap.

Pham Trong Dat, in his school uniform and with the bicycle he rides to school, stands in his front yard in Long An Commune in Dong Nai Province’s Long Thanh District. Photo by Huynh Cong Lap.

Huynh Thi Thu, 68, Dat's grandmother, said: "I’m really happy my grandson has been praised for doing a good work. That is who he is: he will fix anything that does not feel right."

After their parents divorced, Dat and his 15-year-old sister have been living with their maternal grandparents for years.

His grandfather, who suffered a stroke, can no longer work while his grandmother works as a housekeeper.

His mother works in a far-off place and has not visited them for seven years.

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