Expats in Hanoi take on massive canal cleanup project

A group of expats living and working in Hanoi have formed a volunteer organisation dedicated to cleaning up the city’s network of canals, drains and public gardens.

Hanoi is a popular destination for Western expats looking to work and live in a more laid-back Southeast Asian environment, but culture shock often includes the deplorable state of waterways, parks and recreational spaces. After living and teaching English in the city for three years, James Kendall decided he had to do something about it.

Kendall’s ideas soon became reality with the founding of not-for-profit organisation ‘Keep Hanoi Clean’. At first, the small group comprised its founder and a few of his friends, but word of mouth and a Facebook page resulted in an amazing total of 1400 members and followers.

The 20 regular members, a number of whom are young Vietnamese, are committed to cleaning up the filthy canals and drains as well as tidying and cleaning public gardens. Last weekend, the group were to be found chest-deep in black, polluted water whilst dredging a local canal by removing the filth and debris from the water. Once done, they planted young trees along its borders.