An event organized by a group of young people to clean up canals in Hồ Chí Minh City (HCMC) on March 17th after officials told them a permit was required for the activity.


Volunteers paddle and clean up trash on a canal in HCMC


    Mr. Vũ Ngọc Chiến, a former professional swimmer, is behind the idea of assembling a group of young people who are interested in paddleboarding to put their hobby to a good cause by paddling along HCMC canals to clean up garbage littered into the watercourses.

    Vũ Ngọc Chiến’s call for volunteers was answered by nearly 100 youths, who planned to launch their campaign on Sunday morning starting with polluted canals in the Thảo Điền area in District 2. All participants had received training on paddling techniques prior to the event and was equipped with life jackets for safety.

    However, the voluntary work was called off at the last minute on Sunday after local officials showed up and asked to see the group’s permit to organize the event, which they didn’t have.

    The group’s activity is commendable, but since it concerned directly with the safety of participants the administration of Thảo Điền Ward had no choice but to call it off until a permit is acquired. A member of the organizing team said they had wanted to apply for a permit but had no idea where to go to get one.

    They had once sought a permit for a cleanup event on the Nhiêu Lộc - Thị Nghè Canal but were told by every authority they contacted to seek permission from another one. Currently, all trash collecting boats are specifically designed for the purpose and operated by professionals”, said an official from the municipal Department of Transport.

    “If these young people really wish to organize such an event, they are welcome to reach us for more detailed directions on the steps to follow”, the official said.


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