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Hanwha launches campaign to help clean Vietnam's Mekong River
To commemorate World Environment Day on June 5th, Hanwha launched a 'Clean Up Mekong' campaign in Vinh Long Province in collaboration with the Vietnam Environment Administration and the Global Green Growth Institute of Vietnam.
The campaign will combat the pollutants floating in the Mekong River and will rely heavily on Hanwha's solar-powered boats, which use conveyor belts to quickly and efficiently scoop floating trash on the river's surface.
The Mekong is a trans-boundary river that runs through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and finally Vietnam before discharging into sea. It moves 475cu.km of water annually and supports over 70 million people who rely on it as their main source of water.
However, indiscriminately disposed-of waste and sewage discharge along the river's length, has turned the Mekong into one of the world's 10 most polluted rivers. The pollutants ultimately float into the ocean and threaten marine life. As Vietnam is the last country the river runs through, the Clean Up Mekong campaign aims to remove waste before it enters the ocean, at the riverside city of Vinh Long.
The key to the campaign's clean-up efforts will be the solar-powered boats which will work without emitting any greenhouse gases or other pollutants. The boats, which rely on Hanwha Q Cells' Q.Peak solar modules for power and propulsion, are also silent, resulting in minimal disturbance to local wildlife.
The boats were unveiled at a ceremony attended by various dignitaries, including 20 representatives from 15 different government organisations as well as 30 local university student volunteers. After the event, everyone took part in the clean-up effort by picking up refuse out of the river.
Among those in attendance were Hanwha Communications committee president and head, Sun-Mok Choi; Hanwha Life Vietnam general director, Back Jong Kook; senior vice president and head of Hanwha Techwin Security Vietnam, Doo Hwan Chun; director general of the Department of Science, technology and international relations, Vietnam environment administration, Ms. Nguyen Thi Thien Phuong; Vinh Long Permanent Provincial People's Committee vice president, Tran Hoang Tu; and deputy country representative of the Global Green Growth Institute in Vietnam, Hanh Le.
This campaign is the latest in Hanwha's ongoing efforts to combat climate change and energy poverty, and to encourage responsible consumption in accordance to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
GGGI and Hanwha have long worked together to advance green growth and now, given the mounting challenge of solid waste in Vietnam, have come together with the government of Vietnam on this crucial campaign to clean up the Mekong. This campaign links with GGGI's other efforts to improve waste management, such as recycling, reducing and waste to energy technologies.
Ms. Nguyen Thi Thien Phuong, director general of the Department of Science, Technology and International Relations, Vietnam Environment Administration, said of the initiative: "I'm pleased that South Korea and Vietnam can work together to solve climate change and environmental issues. I'm hoping that this campaign will be successful and spread throughout the whole of Vietnam."
Tran Hoang Tu, vice president of Vinh Long Permanent Provincial People's Committee, added:
"I am very proud to be working with Hanwha on an innovative idea to solve the Mekong's waste problem with these solar-powered boats here in Vinh Long, which will continue to use these donated solar-powered boats to keep the Mekong River clean.
Hanh Le, deputy country representative of the Global Green Growth Institute in Vietnam, said: "Solid waste is one of the top issues facing cities in Vietnam. With Hanwha's solar boats, and the awareness campaign around it, we can begin to see a cleaner Mekong river, which will benefit all of Vietnam".
Ahead of the handover ceremony for the solar-powered boats, Hanwha implemented a social media campaign to raise public awareness on the environmental issues caused by water pollution. The campaign also speaks to the importance of environmentally friendly energy sources and its benefits. The campaign was aimed at supporting the UN SDGs Target 12.5 and 12.8 to substantially reduce waste generation and to ensure that people everywhere had the information necessary for sustainable development and lifestyle that is in harmony with nature.
Vietnamese citizens were encouraged to spread the news of the campaign by uploading messages of encouragement and support on Facebook -- the more messages got uploaded, the bigger a solar hero character became. As a result, 3.4 million video views and more than 9,000 shares were posted on Facebook in just a week. The awareness campaign proved to be a success.
Back in December of 2018, Hanwha chairman, Seung Youn Kim, reiterated Hanwha's commitment to Vietnam, saying: "As a member of the local community, Hanwha won't just be concerned with how we can contribute to the economy, but also how we can help address environmental issues as well."
The Clean Up Mekong campaign builds on this commitment the chairman spoke of and brings about real progress towards cleaning up Vietnam's environment. Prior to Hanwha's solar-powered boat donation, clean-up efforts along the Mekong River were only limited to regions with resources large enough to support them. Waste would have to be manually removed from the water using boats powered by diesel or heavy oil that would inevitably add to the pollution through leaks and carbon emissions.
6th June 2019