How can we clean up our surroundings to ensure a world without garbage?
To mark World Clean-up Day on September 15, Vientiane Times asked some people for their thoughts about
the status of garbage management in Laos, and what should be done to clean up their homes, the country
and the world, and to protect the environment.

Ms Phoutsady Bounthachit, a student in Luang Prabang: This year, authorities in Vientiane are organising clean-up activities along main roads to mark World Clean-up Day. It’s a good idea to promote this concept, so that they better understand the importance of cleanliness. It’s also very important that everyone reduces the use of plastic bags and learns more about separating waste so that some garbage can be recycled or reused in order to reduce waste and protect the environment. I believe that everyone should join forces to tackle this issue as it will help make our country and the world cleaner and greener.


Mr Bounmixay, a resident of Vientiane: It’s quite hard to clean up Laos because most people aren’t well educated and don’t care about litter and rubbish disposal. Our regulations aren’t enforced so people don’t care about the terrible amount of litter that lines our streets and pollutes our neighbourhoods and rivers. Most roads in Laos are now surfaced with asphalt or concrete but they’re still full of dust and mud. Sometimes I see people cleaning up around their homes, but only a few. The sides of some roads are littered with a lot of plastic bags and solid waste but it seems like no one cares about this problem.

Ms Boudsaba Sisaenphone, a student at the National University of Laos: The entire world is facing the problem of waste disposal and the flood of plastic trash never stops in Laos. The authorities arrange for the collection of household waste and arrange regular clean-ups by volunteers but these are all temporary solutions. Laws and rules exist to curb littering and the burning of trash, including the imposition of fines on those who break the rules. More people living in Vientiane should pay the waste collection fee to cover the costs of the collection system. Too many people still refuse to pay for garbage collection and it just gets dumped or burnt illegally. The administration should work with street vendors, shop-owners, plastic makers and everyone who distributes plastic products to encourage them to reduce the use of plastic bags, which rapidly become plastic waste.

Ms Bakham, a resident of Khammuan province: I think we should be more concerned about this problem, not only by observing World Clean-up Day but through our actions every day. Children are our future and we should teach them well, especially about understanding and caring for our surroundings so that our cities remain clean and green. We need to set a good example for them because youngsters copy their elders. We should teach them to properly dispose of waste and always explain why they need to do this. When they grow up, these lessons will be passed on to the next generation.

Mr Khamphouvong, an official in Vientiane: Plastic bags and polystyrene food containers are the main problem. It takes a long time for them to break down in the environment but too many people never care how many plastic bags they use and how much waste they generate every day. It’s especially bad during festivals. I’ve never seen festival organisers trying to reduce the use of plastic bags and foam food containers. When the festival is over, everything and everyone has gone, except for the huge amount of garbage that’s left behind. It’s essential that we teach everyone how important it is to reduce the use of, and to reuse plastic bags.

By Lamphone Pasanthong
(Latest Update September 15, 2018)

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