The 2014 Clean Up The World campaign was launched on September 24 in the northern province of Thai Nguyen.

This year’s event, themed “Let’s take action for a waste-free environment”, is co-organised by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment and the Australian Embassy in Vietnam in an attempt to enhance the public’s awareness of the importance of protecting the environment.

Speaking at the ceremony, Deputy Minister Bui Cach Tuyen called upon relevant authorities and members of the public to implement practical measures to jointly protect the environment, including the mobilisation and diversification of resources.

The campaign was first held in Australia in 1993 and scaled-up by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Organised in the third week of every September, the programme is now an annual international campaign, attracting hundreds of millions of participants from 130 nations.

Vietnam joined the campaign in 1994 and, in response, has devised a number of practical and effective action plans.

According to the World Bank’s latest data, each year Vietnam suffers losses of 5.5 percent of its GDP, approximately 800 million USD, due to illnesses caused by environmental pollution.

On this occasion, the People’s Committee of Thai Nguyen province awarded certificates of merit to nine groups and four individuals for their outstanding contributions to environmental protection.

After the launch ceremony, participants took part in cleaning up the local environment, including Song Cau park and roads in the city of Thai Nguyen.-VNA