HCM City’s downtown district encourages green living by exchanging necessities for waste hinh anh 1People living in HCM City's District 1 exchange waste for items like rice and potted plants to support disadvantage people and improve awareness of the environment. (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNS/VNA) -
People living in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 exchanged plastic bottles, paper and other solid waste for rice, cooking oil, salt, and potted plants during the last two weeks.

The programme was organised by the district Youth Union and Fatherland Front Committee as part of efforts to support people disadvantaged by the COVID-19 pandemic and educate them on the environmental impacts of waste.

Alley 153, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai street, in Pham Ngu Lao ward saw many people come during the weekend to exchange plastic bottles and used paper for rice and decorative plants.

The solid wastes were segregated at home for smoother exchange, Nguyen Thi Diep, who was among those who brought them, said.
“Instead of selling bottles and used newspaper, I decided to bring them here to exchange for rice, which I will share to those in need. It is fun and more meaningful that way.”

More than 700 kilogrammes of rice were distributed to participants of the programme.

Tran Do Nam Long, secretary of the District 1 Youth Organisation, said the money raised by selling the wastes would be donated to the scholarship fund for poor students.

“Each kilo of plastic waste was converted into one kilo of rice. If each person comes with a few kilos, the total amount of waste would be tremendous. The programme has created a habit and sense of responsibility among locals to pursue a greener lifestyle.”

Nguyen Thi Ngoc, who was in charge of potting plants for the programme, said she was very happy to be a part of a meaningful programme.

“These colourful pots of plants were made by me and some others. Even though the process was quite tiring, everyone is happy.

“Our neighbourhood has done a good job of sorting waste and creating green spaces from recycled waste for the last three years.

“We have taken the initiative to collect solid wastes from households regularly, sell it and raise money for the Nguyen Thi Minh Khai scholarship.

“Now with the new programme and how kind locals have been to give back the rice they have got in exchange for their solid waste, we have decided to use cook free meals for poor people in times of need.”

Many other organisations in the city have carried out similar programmes to encourage locals to be more environmentally conscious. 
At the school-level, recycling of plastic waste has stimulated students’ creativity, with many winning prizes for ideas to turn waste into useful items and inspire a sustainable lifestyle.

HCM City Book Street in District 1 is also a popular spot that hosts various green community programmes. Besides creating a green area, the street management has also increased the use of environment-friendly materials used in booths and organised regular meetings between writers on environment and readers./.