Volunteers scour mountain in effort to clear tourist trash in southern Vietnam

By Vy An   March 20, 2018 | 03:56 pm GMT+7

'There's no one at the top to clear up after the hikers leave because it's too high.'

The six hikers carrying massive bags of trash down to the base of the mountain. Photo courtesy of Nguyen Chien.

The six hikers carrying massive bags of trash down to the base of the mountain. Photo courtesy of Nguyen Chien.

A group of six young hikers so fed up with the amount of trash being left on Black Virgin Mountain in southern Vietnam decided to take matters into their own hands on March 18 by launching their own cleanup campaign.

Black Virgin Mountain is a popular destination in Tay Ninh Province, 96 kilometers (60 miles) northwest of Ho Chi Minh City, and is famed for its stunning views and diverse trails for visitors to climb.

Unfortunately, the 996-meter mountain is also infamous for its trash, with hundreds of tourists hiking up to the top every weekend and leaving their waste behind.

That’s why Nguyen Chien and his five friends decided to do something about it.

“Most of the trash is at the top of the mountain. There's no one at the top to clear up after the hikers leave because it's too high,” said Nguyen Hoang Hien, one of the volunteers. Each bag they brought down weighed roughly 10 kilograms (22 pounds), said Hien.

Trash being brought down for disposal. Photo courtesy of Nguyen Chien.

Trash being brought down for disposal. Photo courtesy of Nguyen Chien.

The group gave the trash they collected to local people to sell for recycling, earning them VND100,000 to 200,000 ($4.4-8.8).

Chien actually started his cleanup campaign in April 2016. Since then he has returned over 20 times in an effort to save the mountain and encourage tourists not to litter.

This is not the first time Black Virgin Mountain has been cleaned up. The last notable campaign was in February 2017 when 400 young adults carried down 430 kilograms of trash.

Trash is a major problem at many tourist attractions in Vietnam. Mass tourism has brought great benefits to the country, but education and littering laws have had little impact on tourists’ dirty habit. As educators and lawmakers continue their search for a solution, mountains and beaches remain covered in trash, and volunteers like Chien and his friends still have a lot of work to do.

 
 
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