Being one of the top 5 plastic waste polluters in the world's oceans, Vietnam is generating approximately 25 million tons of solid waste each year, 10-20% of which are plastic (USAID). To protect the future of Vietnam, every action counts, and in the beautiful island Phu Quoc, an interesting activity of Beach clean-ups while sailing is being held by Viet Sail Phu Quoc, the original island sailing experience and first sailing school in Phu Quoc.
Viet Sail Phu Quoc is the original island sailing experience and first sailing school in Phu Quoc, offering unique sailing tours, lessons and unforgettable experiences!
Participating in the Green Interview today is Pierre from Viet Sail Phu Quoc.
Tram Anh: How did you come up with the idea of cleaning up the ocean event? Could you share with us the story behind it?
Pierre: Like you said, I spend a lot of time in the sea around Phu Quoc. I've been on this island for 4 years and I have crossed many plastics in the ocean (and on the coast) when I go sailing, so it is important for me to talk about what I see every day, and try to bring more people on the environmental path.
A beach clean up event can help the people to take conscience about the plastic problem. That's why I do it. But I know as well that what we do will not help to have less plastics on the beach if the people don't use less plastic. Education is for me the most important thing to do to solve this problem.
Tram Anh: How often are you running this event now? Could you estimate how much trash you have been rescuing from the ocean? Do you have any plan to further grow this event?
Pierre: I did it a few times before but not often. I usually pick up some when I go sailing but it's small quantities. I think in 4 years I picked up around 100 kg from the sea. Now I would like to do this event 1 time every month.
Tram Anh: How could people sign up to join your Beach clean up event? Do they need to be experienced sailors?
Pierre: think the easier way is to make a facebook group. No need to know sailing to come, everybody can join.
Tram Anh: As you must spend quite a lot of time on the ocean in Vietnam, in particular in Phu Quoc, what do you think about the current environmental situation there? How do you expect it to be in the next 10 and 20 years?
Pierre: The current environmental situation is worrying in Phu Quoc.
First, the plastic waste, with no recycling. You can see it everywhere on the island. There are some trash mountains where they burn the plastic, and I know that all the plastic I will pick up from the sea will be burned there... So it's not better at the end. To be honest, it's more ecological to burn the plastic directly on the beach than to use a truck for the transport and burn it anyway.
In the sea, the plastic is eaten by the fish and we eat the fish, so we eat plastic at the end. I'm not sure if it's very good... The plastic waste problem is not only here, it's the same everywhere in the world. This is a world problem.
Phu Quoc's environment situation is getting more serious than ever before
Like I said before, the main problem is that we use too much plastic. We can easily reduce it if the people are educated about that.
Second, about fishing. There is no regulation about fishing here. Year after year there are fewer and fewer fish around Phu Quoc, because of the tourism (more people, more restaurants, more fishing). Before they had turtles, many big fish, dolphins...
Third, The development of the island. All this development has the consequence of destroying nature. We cut the forest and kill all that life to build some roads, some houses, some resorts, some attraction parks, some golf....
The monkeys have fewer and fewer forests and maybe one day they will disappear.
The good news is that the National park is used by the army, so they will keep some forest.
I'm not optimistic for the future but I try my best to do something on a small scale. I really hope that the people will change their attitude quickly if they don't want a waste island with no nature anymore in the next 10-20 years.
Tram Anh: What do you think about the potential of eco-tourism in Vietnam?
Pierre: I think there is a huge potential of eco-tourism in Vietnam and everywhere in the world. We can do really better than what we are doing and easily. People just have to care about it.
Tram Anh: What message would you like to send to our readers to raise their awareness about the importance of protecting our ocean?
Pierre: For me it's important to know that the humanity has killed 70% of the animals and the nature on this planet in 100 years. It took millions years to create this beautiful world, and we will destroy everything in less than 200 years only.
Do you think that it will be good to destroy all that nature, that oceans, that life ?
Do you think it is desirable to continue like this ?
Protect that nature, that animals, that oceans, that lands....it is also protect us.
If we don't take care of the environment, disasters will occur.
Viet Sail Phu Quoc
ORIENT Resort, Gành Dầu
Phú Quốc, Kiên Giang 922251, Vietnam
Tel: 0776 830 072