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Veteran helps the environment with military precision

Pham Cong Luong, a former navy veteran in central Da Nang City, has always been proud of the place where he lives.


The Environmental Kids Club push the trash trolley to collect recycled garbage in central Da Nang City's Hai Chau District. — Photo


After leaving the armed forces, Luong was assigned to work as a secretary of the Party cell of Binh Phuoc Residential Area in Hai Chau District.

And he took to his new role with the same military precision as when he was in the navy, launching a campaign to classify garbage before it was recycled.

Luong’s tactics to gain the support and trust of the community were simple. He led by example, always carrying a bag and always ready to pick up trash, even when he was exercising each morning.

His small house soon became overloaded with other people’s rubbish so Luong sold what he collected and used the money to help disadvantaged families in the neighbourhood.

Luong’s actions paid off, and more and more people began bringing garbage for him to recycle, particularly the children of the community.

“I’ve realised children have gained the environmental consciousness,” Luong told Thanh Niên (Young People) newspaper.

“The root of littering or picking up garbage was from each person’s awareness. This must be built since childhood.”

Luong decided to do more to expand the plan of classifying garbage.

Environmental Kids Club

Luong set up a football team for kids and played with them every afternoon and used it a chance to spread the word.

He told them about the environmental protection, the recycled garbage and the benefits of garbage collection, which could be used for hiring football pitches and helping people around them.
In 2018, he established an Environmental Kids Club.

Every Sunday, Luong, together with a group of children, push the trolley around the streets and small alleys in Thuan Phuoc Ward to collect single-use plastic bottles, waste paper and metal scrap.

The children’s small actions raised community awareness on environmental protection. Instead of throwing away plastic bottles, cans, and paper into public bins, people kept it for the children’s trolleys.

The waste was sold to raise fund to help disadvantaged people in the area. Last year, the club earned VND30 million (US$1,290) from selling the garbage. In the six months of this year, the club has earned more than VND3 million ($129).

The number of children in the club has risen to 24, ageing between eight and 12. The trash trolleys and the children in green shirts – the club’s uniform – are a regular sight patrolling the streets of Hai Chau District.

Tran Thanh Khiem, a club member said he was happy to join the club.

He said he was a little tired, but he was happy as it could help protect the environment.

Luong said the club has taught the children about the environmental protection and the awareness of a clean and green country.

Ha Ngoc Duc, head of the Hai Chau District's Natural Resources and Environment Office said the office, in collaboration with Da Nang City’s Urban Environment Company, has implemented a pilot plan of collecting recycled trash on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Duc said the plan would gradually help local residents create the habit of classifying waste. Currently, Hoa Cuong Nam and Hai Chau 1 wards have built a recycled waste depot. The office would research a method of purchasing recycled waste to encourage people to join the waste classification.

In the first six months of this year, Hai Chau District has collected over VND400 million (US$17,200) from waste classification. The money has been used for environmental protection purposes.

During his time in the navy, Luong was used to keeping things ship-shape and in order. Now he has left, nothing really has changed as Luong continues to serve the nation the best way he can.VNS


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