World CleanUp Day is a global social action movement aiming to tackle the issue of waste management and disposal around the world, including marine debris. Here at BIS we have worked with Clean-Up Vietnam, a local NGO, to run two smaller BIS Clean-Ups of Thao Dien, as part of our ongoing initiative to raise awareness of the negative impacts of poor waste disposal and of the single-use throwaway culture on local and global environments. Saturday 15th September saw the first World CleanUp day and our over 200 participants joined 150+ countries across the world to clean-up on the same day. The turnout from our local community was impressive and our auditorium was buzzing with people ready to make Thao Dien tidier.
The event was organised by the BIS HCMC Global Goals Club, in partnership with Let’s Do It Vietnam, World Cleanup Day, and Clean-Up Vietnam (an NGO based in Ho Chi Minh City). We have been inspired by their mission and these clean-ups are one way for us to take action to reduce the amount of litter in the Thao Dien area. We wanted to raise awareness of sustainability issues and the environmental impacts of economic growth on the environment through this event. Our long-term goal is for our area of Thao Dien to become environmentally sustainable, where litter will not be the main cause of environmental concern. By beginning to raise awareness through the clean-up we hope to then be able to inspire others in the area to join us, and begin working with local businesses to reduce the waste that is produced in this area. This was achieved through this clean-up, with many local people joining us along the way.
After meeting at the Secondary Campus, our group of volunteers went out to collect litter along various routes leading away from the campus. In small groups, and armed with gloves, tongs, and large bags, they picked up paper, plastic, and metal rubbish from the streets. In just 1 hour our groups collected 77 bags of rubbish! It was, in the words of Head of Year 7, Mr McLoughlin “a fantastic community event!”. Following the clean-up our participants were able to shop for sustainable products such as reusable metal and bamboo straws, bilum bags made from natural materials, and items made from upcycled BIS school uniform. A huge thank you to AquaGrowGreens, Gagaco, Green Around the Corner, One More Reused, Organik House, and Zero Waste Saigon for supporting our event!
As part of the clean-up, Zero Waste Saigon also asked us to separate the plastic straws that we collected in order to support their collaboration with artist Benjamin Von Wong, and the project to turn plastic straws into art. Von Wong has produced some stunning pieces using plastic waste and e-waste to highlight recycling initiatives. Our clean-up has contributed the first materials for this work; astonishingly we collected an estimated 2000 straws! We cannot believe how many straws end up on the streets of Thao Dien and are glad that they are off to be reused. For our next clean-up later in the academic year, we would like to work on separating the plastic waste to be recycled on our campus through our Precious Plastic project. We are also working on reducing the waste that is produced by the school with our steps towards the #2020PlasticPledge to ban all single use plastics on our campuses.
Thank you again to all of the participants in the event; you really made it a wonderful and heartening morning, and it’s great to know so many of us are working in the same direction. We look forward to seeing you again at the next event!
A few thoughts from our participants...