September 15, 2018
On September 15, 2018 a multitude of public streetscape cleaning activities were joined by 13 million people in some 155 countries worldwide. A volunteer effort, "World Cleanup Day" was carried out internationally with the results of activities of each country posted one after another to Facebook on the very same day. At one of several sites in Laos, more than 200 people also held a cleanup activity in the country's capital and biggest city Vientiane.
JICA Expert and Advisor for waste management Mr. Yamauchi and his Lao counterpart Ms. Kittiyapha joined the effort to organize the activity with local volunteer organization "Trash Hero Laos" and a high school student group. Trash Hero Laos is conducting a cleanup activity at a different location in Vientiane every month. Information on meeting places and times, target areas, what to bring and so on was informed to the members and public via an event on Facebook that was liked and shared by local social media sites, fans and followers. Participants brought their own garbage bags and work gloves.
They were able to collect many large garbage bags worth. The bags also contained moisture and soil and sand, which quickly made them heavy. It was quite hard work to pick up rubbish due to the hot sunny weather that day. Making this easier was a garbage truck originally provided via a JICA grant aid project years previous also helped collected garbage in this activity. The joint effort gave participants and organizers plenty of insights. "There were quite a lot of garbage scattered in the grassy places along the roads, it seems that there were also many things which cannot be seen at first glance, buried in the earth and sand,." one said. "Types of waste mostly found are PET bottles, plastic bags, ice coffee containers, straws, aluminum cans, glass bottles for drinks, and scraps of fruits,." said another. "There were many pieces of garbage where the grate of the drainage channel along the road was opened and garbage was accumulated, it is concerning that it will eventually join the rivers and so on to become part of an ocean of plastic,." feared a third.
JICA Laos is proud to contribute to the effort to reduce the toll of waste so that Laos and its capital city Vientiane remain charming, beautiful and attractive destinations to live, work, play and travel in this Visit Laos Year 2018 and beyond.