Pretty views, ugly habits

TN News

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Vietnam was proud and happy when the Can Tho Bridge opened and became the world's seventh longest cable-stayed bridge around two weeks ago.

But many people living around the bridge's feet now regret it as visitors who are eager to see the bridge have been dumping garbage on them every day.

The road leading to the foot of the bridge on the side of Vinh Long Province is full of food waste, styrofoam packs that must have contained rice or other food, and empty bottles.

Le Thi Phuong, living under the bridge, has to wear a helmet when cooking (Photo by Thanh Dung)

More than a hundred people live in the area. Most of the houses are tin-roofed and they are unable to sleep with the garbage falling like bombs from 23-25 meters high.

A local named Nguyen Van Sa Ngot said he suffered a headache every night as the garbage sounded like someone playing drums loudly on his roof. Ngot has taken his mother to a relative's house elsewhere after a coconut shell went through his roof and almost hit her when sleeping.

Sometimes, some young men on the bridge got excited and threw their shoes or slippers down. They even urinated from atop the bridge.

Some threw cigarette butts into an area full of dry vegetation and houses made with coconut leaves.

As living under the bridge, people here know they will be relocated someday, so they didn't intend to build firm homes.

Le Thi Phuong, another local, said she had to wear a helmet when cooking.

Phuong said she and her neighbors received garbage constantly from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. as people gathered around the bridge to get some cool air and ended up having picnics there.

Children in the area are no longer allowed to play outdoors. Adults who want to sit outside have to choose a spot that is safe from falling objects.

Some locals have moved out and only return to clear their roofs of garbage.

Some locals have thought of filing a lawsuit but others have dissuaded them saying it will not be effective.

The residents cannot keep watch on the bridge around the clock to prevent people from throwing waste. It is near impossible to prevent littering from the bridge.

So the only possible solution depends on the visitors. They should just enjoy the view and throw nothing.

The bridge linking Vinh Long and Can Tho City is supposed to be a sign of our great development. The garbage dumping is proving the opposite.

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