In 1989, an ‘average Australian bloke’ looked around his city and realised there was a problem with litter that no-one else seemed to be confronting. With a little initiative and a lot of effort, he decided he could make a difference, and so Clean Up Sydney Harbour was born.    

The event received widespread support from the community, and more than 40,000 Sydneysiders turned up on the day to donate their time and energy to cleaning up their city’s iconic harbour. The following year, Clean Up Australia Day was launched – if a whole city would come out to keep their community clean, why wouldn’t the whole country?

Fast forward 25 years and another ‘average Australian bloke’ looked around his community and had the same thoughts about litter. This time it was in Vietnam, and on April 17, 2016, the country saw its first nationwide Clean Up Day, with over 3,000 volunteers coming together to clean up their communities and make Vietnam a cleaner, greener place to live.

Although their message is about keeping the environment clean, it’s as much about bringing communities together and creating litter-free urban and rural spaces. Since the event in April, communities all over the country have come together to do their part. There are now weekly clean-ups nationwide, with large groups active in Ha Noi, Da Nang, Nha Trang, Mui Ne and Phu Quoc.

Clean Up Vietnam is an organisation that wants to inspire individuals, families, and communities to rethink the way they dispose of their litter and waste. In June this year, a young Vietnamese man, Mr Thanh (Bob), set off to walk from HCMC to Ha Noi to connect with local clean up groups and encourage young people to take action in keeping their environment clean.

Bob’s walk is called ‘Leave No Footprint VN’, which is also the message he carries with him as he works his way up the coast, engaging local youth groups and businesses and motivating people to take ownership of polluted areas in their local environment.

Later this year, Clean Up Vietnam will launch their Adopt-A-Spot programme, building on the work that Bob has started and supporting groups and individuals who want to commit long-term to keeping a ‘spot’ in their community clean. Volunteers will receive clean-up packs from CUV, and become part of a countrywide network of people who want to make a difference to their local environment.

In October, Vietnam will host its first Leadership Camp where the country’s next generation of change makers will discuss issues of waste management and pollution, and how to tackle them. Organised by a GYO, Let’s Do It, Clean Up Vietnam will be key note speakers at the event and promote sustainable commitment to tackling widespread littering.

In early March, 2017, Clean Up Vietnam will hold their second annual Clean Up Day with over 10,000 volunteers expected to turn out for a week of nationwide events.  Environmental and clean-up groups all over the country, motivated by concerns for the environment and a growing awareness of pollution issues, will be joining forces.  Together, they will host the country’s largest ever clean-up event, and do their part in keeping Vietnam clean and green.

If you would like to be involved, contact Scott Alderson at director@cleanupvietnam.org or through the Clean Up Vietnam Facebook page.