How lucky I consider myself to be to have seen such beautiful things. Vietnam is truly a country of many landscapes: mountains, sand dunes, beaches, rice paddies, lakes, steep valleys with powerful rivers and cascading waterfalls.
However, the harsh reality stands that no matter where you go, rubbish lines the streets and it blends into the landscape so much that you don’t even notice it and its full extent. The sadness that this rubbish pollutes the land so much and no ones does anything about it means that it may as well destroy its appeal and quite literally destroy many living animals that rely on this ecosystem to survive.
Also, the destruction is fueled by construction and development. Private beaches become beach resorts, waterfalls are made into fully fledged theme parks. Animals are sacrificed to give children and even adults rides. It is obvious that there is little education regarding the preservation of natural resources but it is also just as obvious that by the time the need is recognised by the government and ‘system’ it will be too late. A severe lack of education was made evident to me when we were on a local bus and a Vietnamese man finished his can of coke and tossed it out the window. Also as obvious is that development will prevail and if there is an economical benefit it will be built. Everyday you see this.
What I find amazing is that in areas where new development projects have begun, there is already so much pollution. What will come of the area once a brand new resort has been put it. Will this mean more people to litter everywhere? Local people seem to not understand that by throwing an empty coke can on the street it does not disappear. It becomes a permanent part of the world. It destroys ecosystems, the aesthetics of a destination and also creates larger problems for infrastructure.
If we are enjoying a country now with so much rubbish already, what will it be like in 5 or 10 years when there will inevitably be more of it? What can the individual do but act as a role model and set an example for the local people. Show respect for the environment and hope that when a local sees you they think, “wow, I should do that too”. I am glad I have seen so much beauty here now, because one day it might not exist at all.