Vietnam battles plastic blight in idyllic Ha Long Bay

A worker picks up trash from Ha Long Bay in northeast Vietnam. The site’s popularity and the rapid growth of Ha Long City have severely damaged the ecosystem of the water. – AFP pic, May 26, 2023.

SQUINTING in the bright light of a hot summer morning, Vu Thi Thinh perches on the edge of her small wooden boat and plucks a polystyrene block from the calm waters of Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay.

It’s not yet 9am, but a mound of styrofoam buoys, plastic bottles and beer cans sit behind her.

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