A group of foreigners in Hanoi knew they had to do something to bring the city's dead canals back to life.
James Joseph Kendall, the founder of the not-for-profit group “Keep Hanoi Clean,” was seen wading in the waste-deep black water as he picked out trash from a canal in Cau Giay District Sunday.
Three other foreigners and several young Vietnamese, all members of the group, also spent the whole day cleaning up the canal and planting trees along the road.
“We had so much fun! The river and the land looks so much better… It was heartwarming to receive the help we got from everyone!” Kendall said on the group’s Facebook page.
He started the group on May 1, first by inviting his expat friends, before it attracted many young Vietnamese.
He said he wanted do something practical about the problem he sees every day: waste dumped by locals getting stuck in canals and sewage systems across the city and polluting the environment.
“Keep Hanoi Clean” now has more than 1,400 members, including around 20 regular members.
Kendall, who has been living in Vietnam for three years and is teaching English at a local school, said he plans to have the group clean up public gardens, canals, and drains every weekend.
In the longer term, the group even has the ambitious plan to revive dead rivers in Hanoi.
Kendall said that big goal will need a lot of time, but it is possible with the help from more of people.
Many people in Hanoi have gone on the group’s Facebook page to express their appreciation and their willingness to help.
Some say images like the ones below are wake-up calls for them to start cleaning and protecting their own city.
James Joseph Kendall picks up trash from a black canal in Hanoi May 15. Photo credit: Keep Hanoi Clean
Three other foreigners join the cleanup.
They use any possible tools to pick up the trash.
The canal after being cleaned up on May 15.
This is what it looked like the week before.