Hanoi trash collectors using bikes hinh anh 1The advantage of the bicycles was that collectors can work in small and narrow lanes in the city (Photo: dantri.com.vn)

Hanoi (VNA) - Over the past two months, inhabitants of streets like Hang Bai, Dinh Tien Hoang, Le Thai To and Hang Khay in Hanoi have grown used to seeing garbage collectors riding a bicycle with two dustbins on each side.

Nguyen Huu Tien, General Director of Hanoi Urban Environment One Member Co Ltd (URENCO), said the company started using bicycles in some central districts in June to encourage residents and tourists to comply with environmental regulations in the capital city.

The advantage of the bicycles was that collectors can work in small and narrow lanes in the city, he said.

If the trial proved successful, the plan will be rolled across the whole city, he said.

Do Kim Ha, a worker from URENCO, said although the bikes have only been used for a few months, their effectiveness has been proven.

“It helps save time for collectors and makes work less hard compared with pushing overloaded trash trolleys along the roads,” she said.

Nguyen Huu Chien, Deputy Director of the Hanoi Urban Environment One Member Co Ltd’s Hoan Kiem branch, said trash collection by bike would help waste collectors and improve locals’ awareness of environmental protection.

Nguyen Xuan Lan, owner of a shop on Cau Go Street, said the area around Hoan Kiem Lake had become cleaner thanks to the efforts of environmental staff, including those on bicycles.

The green garbage collectors’ uniform, bicycles and dustbin as well as the words printed on the back of their uniform called on people to not litter, she said.

She said that a lot of local residents had been seen picking up litter from the road and putting it in collectors’ dustbins.

As many as 50 bicycles have been handed over to garbage collectors in the capital’s four inner districts of Hoan Kiem, Ba Dinh, Hai Ba Trung and Dong Da since June, Chien said.

Nguyen Phuong Linh, a resident of Van Mieu Ward in Dong Da District, applauded the new strategy.

“At first, I was surprised to see garbage collectors riding on bicycles. This helps to create a new image of garbage collectors in the eyes of people,” she said.

“Using bicycles for garbage collection will ease the pressure on collectors as they can collect at any time,” she said.

Household waste is often dumped on streets in Hanoi, Linh said, and this model would help build a green and clean city.

While some appreciated the initiative, others voiced concern over its effectiveness.

Vu Xuan Dau, from Cau Giay District’s Yen Hoa Ward, said it was a waste of human resources. Collectors with bicycles just gathered garbage on the side of the road because garbage on the road and pavement around Hoan Kiem Lake was collected by road-cleaner trucks and other environmental staff, he told New Hanoi newspaper.

He proposed agencies assign waste collectors in an appropriate way to avoid redundancy.

Nguyen Van Nam, who lives on Kham Thien Street, said authorities should consider the long-term effect of the initiative.

Although the capital requirement for purchasing a bicycle was small, it would be quite a big sum of money to purchase hundreds of bicycles, he said.

The budget for bike maintenance and payment for employees was a concern, he said.

In addition, the move seemed on contrary to the trend of mechanisation across the world to cut labour costs.

“While it may be costly to invest high technology to collect waste it brings higher efficiency due to the reduction of employees and covering expanded areas”, he said.-VNA