Source: Viet Nam News 
Viet Nam’s beaches and oceans are witnessing an environmental makeover by grassroots level activists, who are tired of seeing cigarette butts, plastic bags, and empty bottles scattered along their coast.
Several coastal clean ups are being implemented to help solve the pollution problems which have been deteriorating essential marine life, according to Ho Thi Yen Thu, project manager of the Centre for Marine life Conservation and Community Development (MCD).
To combat the problem, the MCD is celebrating World Biodiversity Day on May 22 in Van Hung Commune, Khanh Hoa Province, on May 26 in Phuoc Dinh Commune, Ninh Thuan Province, and in Tam Hai Commune, Quang Nam Province. World Environment Day will also be held on June 5 in Giao Xuan Commune, Nam Dinh Province.
"Community Coastal Clean-up (CCC) 2006 builds on work already being done in the communes to address problems of marine litter and debris," Thu said.
"The CCC is not just about cleaning up the beaches – it’s also about protecting the biodiversity of Viet Nam’s coast and raising awareness about such issues. We want to show that having a clean, pollution-free coast will protect biodiversity and improve the welfare of communities."
The MCD is also holding youth workshops on coastal biodiversity, where students from Nha Trang University of Fisheries will be working with young children to educate them about the environment.
"It is the younger generation that will have to face a future of reduced coastal and marine resources if we don’t make changes now," Thu said.
Although Viet Nam is considered a biodiversity "hotspot" in regards to the nation’s rich coral reef life, there are exceptional threats to its existence.
Less than 25 per cent of reefs surveyed have living coral cover, 96 per cent are considered threatened, and 75 per cent are considered at high or very high risk.
"Rubbish, waste and toxic materials are a great threat to biodiversity. They have a severe negative impact on the ocean’s environment, plants, and animals – not to mention the people that live on the coast," Thu said.
"The involvement of the Ministry of Fisheries’ National Directorate of Aquatic Resources Exploitation and Protection (NADAREP) in the CCC’s programmes shows the commitment of the national government in dealing with marine pollution. In addition, support from the Australian Government’s Department for the Environment and Heritage shows how protecting marine biodiversity has international implications."
The MCD has been holding coastal clean-ups since 2000 as part of their ongoing coastal and marine conservation awareness programmes.
In addition, the CCC 2006 follows MCD’s programme with the Trao Reef locally managed Marine Reserve, Khanh Hoa Province and Xuan Thuy National Park, Nam Dinh Province.