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Garbage everywhere in Hanoi as protestors block road to dump



With the road leading to Hanoi’s largest waste treatment plant blocked by protestors demanding compensation and resettlement, garbage is piling up around the city.

On Monday morning Tran Anh Dao, a resident of Kim Nguu Street in downtown Hanoi, woke up with a stink lingering in her house. Outside, on the street, uncollected garbage had piled up. There were used plastic bags and styrofoam boxes with discarded food lying in carts for days.

A pile of trash lies strewn along the pavement beneath a No Garbage sign on Doi Can Street. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.

A pile of trash lies strewn along the pavement beneath a “No Garbage” sign on Doi Can Street. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.

The 34-year-old’s plight is not unique. Full trash carts and piles of garbage can be seen in many parts of the capital, uncollected for two days as people living around Hanoi’s largest waste-treatment plant in Soc Son District have been blocking the road leading to it. Their demand is always the same: larger compensation amounts and relocation from near the complex.

Outside the plant, nearly 700 trucks with 7,000 tons of trash are waiting to enter last weekend.

Meanwhile, garbage has been piling up with the attendant odor and blowflies in districts like Ba Dinh, Dong Da, Hai Ba Trung, Cau Giay, and Thanh Xuan.

A bad situation worsened on Monday morning as more trash was discarded while a lot of people were traveling for work.

Garbage carts near Nga Tu So Intersection on the afternoon of October 25, 2020. Photo by VnExprress/Tat Dinh.

Garbage carts near Nga Tu So Intersection in Hanoi on the afternoon of October 25, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Tat Dinh.

With garbage lining the streets and sidewalks, traveling has become a nightmare. On Monday morning streets such as Thanh Thai, Kim Nguu, Dao Tan, Thai Thinh, with carts full of trash next to piles of uncollected trash, were gridlocked.

Some of the carts were covered with plastic sheets to reduce the smell and insects, but others continued to see garbage dumped by households.

“Normally I see traffic jams in the morning, now these piles of garbage are making it worse and give off an awful smell while we are stuck in the traffic,” Le Van Quang, an office worker traveling on Tran Thai Tong Street, lamented.

The stoppage of garbage collection has had an impact on people’s lives as they keep trash at home instead of dumping it.

Many residential buildings have advised tenants to reduce their trash. But understandably no one wants garbage to remain inside their house for too long.

Nguyen Thi Nguyen, 58, who brought two bags of trash and dumped them on a sidewalk of Nguyen Trai Street, said: “Those workers have vanished for two days, and so I kept the garbage at home. But it got too stinky and so I had to put it here.”

This is not only causing a public hygiene issue but also hitting businesses and stores since people are staying away from places with garbage.

“We live here and are afraid of this smell; how can customers enjoy their meals in this?” asked the owner of a pho restaurant on Hoang Van Thai Street which had to be closed early on Sunday afternoon, “after a quiet and stinky morning.”

Not a new problem

Three months ago too people living near the Nam Son waste treatment plant in Soc Son had blocked the road leading to it.

They have been living with the odors, flies and other environmental and hygiene problems as the complex has been treating 6,000 tons of trash daily since opening in 1999.

City authorities announced plans to relocate people living within 500 meters of the plant and paying them compensation, but since the process is slow with little compensation, local residents block the road to the complex to voice their opposition.

People block the road to Hanois largest waste-treatment plant in Soc Son District on October 24, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Tat Dinh.

People block the road to Hanoi’s largest waste-treatment plant in Soc Son District on October 24, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Tat Dinh.

Many people in Soc Son’s Hong Ky and Nam Son Communes say they know their blockade would cause suffering to others around the city, but add they have no choice since local authorities are too slow in paying compensation.

Nguyen Thanh Hai, deputy chairman of the Hong Ky Commune People’s Committee, admitted the compensation offered is too little.

When the road was blocked three months ago, the city People’s Committee instructed the Department of Natural Resources and Environment to work with the Soc Son People’s Committee to speed up the compensation payment process and complete it in 2020.

Vuong Dinh Hue, the City Party Committee Secretary, held a meeting on Sunday to discuss the problem where he said it remains unresolved because local authorities are not taking responsibility.

Hue also instructed relevant authorities to persuade people not to block the road to the treatment plant and support them by providing medical insurance and clean water and resolving the compensation and resettlement issues.

The road has been blocked 15 times in the last few years.

While authorities are trying to address the issues, the Urban Environment Company, which is in charge of the environment and collecting and treating garbage in the city, has suggested that people should reduce the garbage they generate and keep it at home until a solution is found.

Dao said: “I have three bags of garbage in my kitchen, with no idea how or when to get rid of them.”

She was leaving for work on Monday morning and hoped she would not see the piles of garbage in front of her house when she returns in the afternoon.



Vietnamese photographer alliance scores honorable mentions in international contest



Two Vietnamese entries to the International Federation of Photographic Art’s (FIAP) 29th Color Biennial earned a combined three honorable mentions by the panel of judges, the Vietnam Association of Photographic Artists (VAPA) recently announced. 

FIAP is an international umbrella organization for 91 national photography associations, including the VAPA.

This year, the VAPA has obtained two honorable awards at the FIAP Color Biennal for ‘Traditional Crafts’ and ‘Vietnam Viewed from Above,’ two photography collections that the Vietnamese institution curated from a body of works submitted by its active members.

‘Traditional Crafts,’ a collection of 10 photos, ranked sixth out of 36 entries in the print photography category, while ‘Vietnam Viewed from Above,’ a collection of 20 photos, earned fifth place out of 42 entries the digital category.

In terms of individual recognition, Vietnamese photographer Dzung Nguyen won an honorable mention for ‘Phoi Chieu Coi’ (Drying Sedge Mat), a photo in the VAPA’s ‘Traditional Crafts’ collection.

‘Phoi Chieu Coi’ (Drying sedge mat). Photo: Dzung Nguyen / VAPA

‘Phoi Chieu Coi’ (Drying Sedge Mat). Photo: Dzung Nguyen / VAPA

Biennial photo contests are some of FIAP’s most well-known events, with color photography biennials being held every other year on odd years and black and white and nature biennials being organized every other year on even years. The events rotate between FIAP-member countries.

According to a statement released on FIAP’s website, judges at biennials not only consider the quality of the individual work, but also the coherence of each collection, with inspiration, conception, execution, and presentation all evaluated.

The 29th FIAP Color Biennial 2021 was held in France. Each member federation was responsible for compiling and naming its own collections.  

Print collections were limited to 10 photographs while digital color images were restricted to 20 pieces.

The UK was named the winner in the print category, thanks to its collection ‘Minimalistic Landscapes’ while Russia triumphed in the digital section with a collection titled ‘On the Nature of Female Beauty’.

A photograph from the collection ‘Vietnam Viewed from Above.’ Photo courtesy of VAPA.

A photograph from the collection ‘Vietnam Viewed from Above.’ Photo courtesy of VAPA

A photograph from the collection ‘Vietnam Viewed from Above.’ Photo courtesy of VAPA.

A photograph from the collection ‘Vietnam Viewed from Above.’ Photo courtesy of VAPA

A photograph from the collection ‘Vietnam Viewed from Above.’ Photo courtesy of VAPA.

A photograph from the collection ‘Vietnam Viewed from Above.’ Photo courtesy of VAPA

A photograph from the collection ‘Vietnam Viewed from Above.’ Photo courtesy of VAPA.

A photograph from the collection ‘Vietnam Viewed from Above.’ Photo courtesy of VAPA

A photograph from the collection ‘Traditional Crafts.’ Photo courtesy of VAPA.

A photograph from the collection ‘Traditional Crafts.’ Photo courtesy of VAPA

A photograph from the collection ‘Traditional Crafts.’ Photo courtesy of VAPA.

A photograph from the collection ‘Traditional Crafts.’ Photo courtesy of VAPA

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Environment-themed online exhibition features Vietnamese, foreign artists



A painting by Pham Binh Chuong that is featured at the “Story of the River” online exhibition – PHOTOS: COURTESY OF ORGANIZER

HCMC – The Song Foundation is organizing an online exhibition featuring over 20 paintings of Vietnamese and foreign artists to raise public awareness over environmental protection and raise funds for charity and social programs.

Huong Giang, founder of the Song Foundation, said she got the idea for the exhibition after witnessing serious drought and saltwater intrusion in the Mekong Delta. “When we stop deforestation and over-exploitation of river sand, we will be able to protect underground water and soil. The whole community needs to join hands for a more sustainable ecosystem,” she said.

The “Story of the River” exhibition presents beautiful artworks by Vietnamese artists such as Nguyen Van The, Nguyen Quoc Thai, Le Dinh Nguyen, Ton That Bang, Doan Hoang Lam and Pham Binh Chuong.

The exhibition also features painters Nicolaos D. Kanellos of Greece and Hadi Soesanto of Indonesia.

Highlights of the event are creations by Kanellos, former Greek Ambassador to Vietnam, through which the audience will experience his love for Vietnam and its people.

During his term in Vietnam, Kanellos spent time discovering the beauty of Vietnam, and the country’s culture, lifestyle and heritage have inspired his paintings.

In 2017, he presented 12 paintings from his collection to the Vietnamese Museum of Fine Arts and four others to the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“I want my paintings to express my true emotions. These paintings reflect the truthfulness and purity of my feelings,” he said at the gifting ceremony held by the Greek Embassy in Vietnam and the museum.

Born in Greece in 1954, Kanellos is not only a diplomat, but also an artist, a musician and a writer. His paintings belong to many private collections including eminent names around the world. Two of his paintings are exhibited at the International Airport E. Venizelos in Athens.

An artwork by Doan Hoang Lam

The “Story of the River” exhibition is open throughout July via

In the final week of the exhibition, the Song Foundation will host four online auctions on its Facebook page to raise seed funding for the community-based cultural project “River Oi”, the foundation’s core initiative that aims to promote creativity, corporate social responsibility, sustainable development and environmental protection.

During the execution of the stay-at-home mandate amid the raging Covid-19 pandemic, the online exhibition is also expected to help viewers feel more inspired and motivated by enjoying beautiful artworks at home. 

Since 2013, the Song Foundation has organized more than 20 art shows to raise funds for its community projects such as “River Oi”, “Flood-resilient Homes” and “Green Happiness”.


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Vietnamese diaspora in Russia undergo Covid-19 treatment in optimistic ambience



Vietnamese diaspora in Russia undergo Covid-19 treatment in optimistic ambience

People receive a vaccine against Covid-19 at a vaccination center in Gostiny Dvor in Moscow, Russia July 6, 2021. Photo by Reuters/Tatyana Makeyeva.

Vietnamese living in Russia are going through the Covid-19 experiences of self-quarantine amid a general optimism that the crisis will blow over soon.

“Due to the large number of infected people, Russian authorities couldn’t trace every source of infection and put them in quarantine camps like the Vietnamese government did. Most of the positive cases were isolated in their homes,” said Tran Dam Rang, 27, an Earth Science researcher who has lived in Russia for nine years.

He said he had contracted Covid-19 and recovered more than two weeks ago, after a period of self-quarantine and treatment in the dormitory. When a positive case was detected, the dormitory management asked residents of each floor to limit contact with people on other floors.

In case positive cases were found on multiple floors, the local health authority isolated the whole building, conducted testing and monitored treatment until there were no infected people left in the building. Only then were the barricades removed.

Those not living in the dormitory were instructed to isolate and monitor themselves at home. They would be punished if they left the house of their own volition during the self-isolation period.

Due to the large number of infections, the inspection of self-isolation facilities is not that tight, Rang said, adding that cross-contamination still occurs in the dormitory. But, he said, “at least the confirmed patient is isolated and not freely wandering the streets.”

The fine for individuals violating quarantine in Russia is ₽15,000-40,000 ($200-543), and for officials or organization leaders, ₽50,000-150,000 ($678-2,035).

“In case the violator infects others or causes other people’s deaths, the fine gets higher.”.

According to the Washington Post, the method of monitoring and notifying quarantine violations is integrated in the contact tracing application on people’s phones in Russia. Persons subject to home isolation need to submit location verification photos via the app at the required time, proving they have not left the building.

Van A., an international journalism student in Russia who tested positive for Covid-19 in July 2020, said that she was given a special phone by the local government to track location and submit daily health reports. In Moscow, because the number of infections was very high, patients were divided into categories based on the level of severity. When she called to report her symptoms, she had to wait a while for the authorities to arrange a doctor to check.

According to the Russian federal government’s Covid-19 response portal, the nationwide hotline system for people to request assistance when they have Covid symptoms is established by the Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Protection and Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor), a federal executive body administered by the state. Each locality has its own Covid-19 hotline in coordination with federal agencies.

When a caller confirms that she or he has been to an outbreak site or had close contact with a confirmed case before she or he starts showing symptoms, the operator will take basic steps, including obtaining personal information of the caller; asking them not to leave home of self-medicate, limit non-essential medical visits, and call local health authorities or emergency services to arrange for a home visit.

“I experienced a slight loss of taste. The doctor came to my house to check my health, then gave me a drug prescription to take to increase my resistance, and told me to eat more to get better. The next day I was given a phone. When my condition got worse later, I was admitted to the hospital. At that time, the hospital was too crowded, so I had to wait to be transferred to a field hospital later,” said Van A.

Pham Phuong, who has lived and worked in Russia since 2002, had a similar experience when his family of four was infected with the virus in November last year. After experiencing high fever, he took the initiative to take a chest X-ray and discovered that 10 percent of his lungs were damaged on each side, and he had to be hospitalized for three days.

Phuong’s wife’s X-ray only showed five percent lung damage, so the doctor asked her to self-quarantine at home. However, iust a few days later, the damage had increased to 25 percent and she was hospitalized for 14 days. His two children also tested positive for the virus but did not have any symptoms.

Moscow is considered to have the best health system and facility to treat Covid-19 patients in Russia. Asymptomatic or mild cases are monitored by phone. Patients self-treating Covid-19 at home will receive all prescription drugs free of charge.

People who self-treat for Covid-19 and their housemates must install a social monitoring application and take photos to confirm their location several times a day, preventing the risk of going out and infecting the community.

The city has also built an electronic medical record system for infected people so that both patients and doctors can assess the situation on a list of daily health indicators to monitor, according to the city government’s portal.

The Russian capital was forced to adopt this policy to reduce pressure on the health system. As of July 23, Russia had recorded over six million cases, including more than 151,000 deaths.

The number of deaths has continued to increase rapidly in the past week and is currently the highest in Europe. Russia has surpassed France to become the fourth largest epidemic area in the world, after the U.S., India and Brazil.

Despite this status, however, the general mood was not downbeat, said Phuong.

“Currently, more than 20,000 cases are recorded every day in Russia, but people here are still optimistic. They think there will be medicine for Covid-19 available soon and the pandemic will be just like a seasonal flu.”


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