Thousands of people trod on public flower gardens around the Sword Lake in Hanoi in search of good watching spots for the New Year's Eve fireworks show, turning an area of more than a thousand square meters into something of a wasteland.
Authorities said the damage was worth around several hundred million dongs, adding that this happened every year.
"The flowers were planted for the New Year celebration," said a spokesperson of Udic, the contractor responsible for taking care of the plants. "A group of guards tried to ask the visitors not to step on the plants but there were thousands of people."
"Every big holiday, people would gather and destroy and even steal the plants," he said.
“I couldn't believe what I was seeing," said a worker of Udic on Friday. "Last time I checked the flowers were still there and beautiful. Then around 6 a.m. the next morning, when I began my shift, there's nothing left."
Professor Ngo Duc Thinh of the Culture Institute said such an destructive act is a "chronic disease."
“There are two main reasons. First, there's a lack of community awareness. People can keep their house clean, but they have no problem throwing their trash outside,” said Thinh.
“And second, many prefer shortcuts. They don’t want to walk around and if walking on flower gardens can help them move faster, they will do it."
A few flower plants are left behind after thousands of visitors flocked to the Sword Lake for the New Year's Eve fireworks show and destroyed most of the gardens. Photos: Thuy Hang
Visitors tread on the plants around the Sword Lake.
Workers replant flowers around the lake on January 1.