Green activities are all the rage in Ho Chi Minh City, with consumers increasingly voting with their pocketbooks against environmentally irresponsible companies and producers.

The growing public awareness about green issues could be attributable to efforts made by the city government, which has launched green consumption campaigns as early as in 2010.

Nguyen Thi Hong, vice chairwoman of the city's People's Committee, said the city had urged consumers to buy products from companies that follow environmental regulations and produce safe, healthy products.

To improve their ecological footprint, many companies have begun to use renewable energy and power-saving devices, and to produce more organic and natural products.

Ho Quynh Hung, chairman of Dien Quang Lamp Joint Stock Company, said that local consumers would boycott companies that do not make environmentally friendly products.

To meet demand, Dien Quang has updated its technology and products as well as its production methods, he said.

The effort has extended beyond the business sector, with several campaigns directed at youth.

Hoa Sen (Lotus) University's Green Jobs We Choose forum and Green Empowering Contest, for example, are events that help young people find jobs in companies that cause the least damage to the environment.

Bayer Viet Nam is also aiming for the youth market, working with Tri Viet Company and the Organisation for Life&Learning for Environment and Community (Live&Learn) to produce the book "What is Wrong with the Earth?"

The book notes that "superheroes are not necessarily powerful people, but those people who do small things to make great things every day".

In the industrial sector, the city is taking steps to classify solid waste at the source, according to the Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

A number of local supermarkets, trade centres and several residential areas are required to separate solid waste so that more of it could be recycled.

Recycling is also part of a roofing project for the Ho Phuong Kindergarten in Binh Chanh District.

The organiser of Earth Hour 2013, in collaboration with Tetra Pak Vietnam, Dong Tien Paper and Packaging Company and Tam Tan Quy Company, helped to recycle 8,000 milk cartons to produce 200 shingles that cover nearly 300 sq. m. of the school's roof.-VNA