For green Son Tra Peninsula

By DA NANG Today / DA NANG Today
December 16, 2022, 17:55 [GMT+7]

The Son Tra Peninsula is dubbed the ‘green lung’ of Da Nang. In order to keep the ‘lungs’ healthy, over the past years, many organizations and units across the city have not been hesitant to spend their efforts and money to clean up the environment surrounding the peninsula.

Youth Union members and young people in Da Nang participate in the 'Clean Up Son Tra - For a Green Son Tra' programme organized by the Management Board of Son Tra Peninsula and Da Nang Tourist Beaches. Photo: D.H.L
Youth Union members and young people in Da Nang participate in the 'Clean Up Son Tra - For a Green Son Tra' programme organized by the Management Board of Son Tra Peninsula and Da Nang Tourist Beaches. Photo: D.H.L

About 10-20 tonnes of fishing net left on seabed

In recent years, the SaSa Marine Animal Rescue Centre has been active in rescuing marine animals that wash ashore in distress, including dolphins and whales, cleaning up seabed and regenerating coral reefs around the Son Tra Peninsula.

The centre’s quiet work has been supported by many sea lovers at home and abroad, and its Fanpage has more than 41,000 followers.

“We still clean up trash every day and call on both domestic and foreign volunteers to join hands with us. The most dangerous wastes are those that are not visible and located in desolate areas” Le Chien, the founder of the SaSa Marine Animal Rescue Centre.

Currently, coastal areas at the Da Den (Black Rock) and Cat Vang (Yellow Sand) tourist areas, and one location that has not been identified on the map, have a a large volume of plastic waste about 1-1.5m under the sea  and stretching from 1-1.5km, he said worriedly.

Besides plastic waste, the coastal areas around the peninsula also has about 10-20 tonnes of fishing nets lying 10-15m deep in the sea.

The centre’s divers pull hundreds of kilograms of ‘ghost’ fishing net out of the water during each diving session.

To have one hour of working on the seabed, Chien and his teammates have to prepare more than 10 hours on the shore.

Therefore, rescuers are required to have international scuba diving certifications, knowledge of oceanography to avoid ocean currents, and good health because a working session lasts 4-6 hours without rest in the water.

Over the past 7 years, the SaSa Marine Animal Rescue Centre has sought many solutions to deal with ‘ghost nets’, but it is still not feasible because the ghost nets lying deep on the seabed for more than 10 years have rotted with many things clinging to it such as algae, cement, fishing gear, iron and steel.

Le Chien added “We work independently, which probably means we spend our own money to do scientific research. This is the job I have to do and our centre is the only in Viet Nam to do this work”.

He hopes that what they do for the sea will contribute to raising public awareness to protect the marine environment.

According to the centre’s statistics, till date, the coral area in the peninsula’s sea areas is only one one hundredth compared with the years of the 80s and 90s due to tourism exploitation and scraping activities by local fishermen.

The regeneration of coral is very expensive. The transplantation costs of a coral branch is VND250,000 VND. To cover 100 square meters, it costs tens of billions of VND, but it can disappear because of a ghost net.

At present, 6 members of the SaSa Marine Animal Rescue Center are actively involved in carrying out a project on recreating coral reefs on the seabed. They all have oceanographic, mechanical and general knowledge to build a nursery with an area of ​​hundreds of square meters under the seabed.

According to M Chien, coral reefs are the most important ecosystems on the planet, providing life for 40% of all organisms on the ocean floor. The center has poured about VND100 billion into the project over the past time. This is the solution for the future, so it is necessary to change the awareness of the community and the cooperation of the social media to protect the marine and water environment.

‘Green Beach - No Waste’

In 2022, the Management Board of the Son Tra Peninsula and Da Nang Tourist Beaches coordinated with volunteer teams, groups, clubs, and university students across the city to organize environmental protection activities on the Son Tra Peninsula and along coastal routes.

Mr. Do Le An, Deputy Secretary of the Youth Union organisation of the Management Board of Son Tra Peninsula and Da Nang Tourist Beaches, revealed that the annual Da Nang Beach Tourism Season programme features a number of environmental protection events, including ‘Clean up Son Tra’, and planting 100 black star trees on the peninsula under the city’s the 'Growing 1 billion trees in the 2021 - 2025 period' project,  and the installation of 130 environmentally-friendly waste bins on the Son Tra Peninsula and along local beaches.

In addition, the Management Board continues to develop and pilot the ‘Green Beaches - No Waste’ model along the sea section from the East Sea park to the Whale Park on Truong Sa - Vo Nguyen Giap - Hoang Sa route with activities towards a green - clean - beautiful beach and no plastic waste.

In order to raise the awareness of locals and visitors in saying no to plastic waste and protecting the marine and coral ecosystems in the Son Tra Peninsula, the Management Board hosted many meaningful activities in response to the International Day for Biological Diversity, the Action Month for Environment, and the Viet Nam Sea and Islands Week in July and August 2022. Included are the ‘Clean Up Son Tra’ programme, a photo exhibition about biodiversity, a ‘Coral regeneration’ workshop and a ‘For a green Son Tra’ running race.

In addition, the Management Board also coordinated with the Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Center Region 2 (Danang MRCC), the SaSa Marine Animal Rescue Center, and the Da Nang Sup Club to deploy a series of sustainable development activities such as ‘Underwater Cleanup’, ‘Beach Ploggin’ and ‘Green Lika’.

Mr. Nguyen Trung Duc, Secretary of the DaNang MRCC’s Youth Union organization, said that in response to the Viet Nam Sea and Islands Week and World Ocean Day from June 1 to 8, Da Nang MRCC’ Youth Union members got actively involved in picking up trash at beaches, and clearing sewers on the Son Tra peninsula.

In particular, the Youth Union organisation and the Swedish International Student Network in Viet Nam under the Viet Nam - Sweden Friendship Association to participate in running activities to pick up trash and clean the seabed.

Reporting by DOAN HAO LUONG - Translating by M.DUNG