Clean Up Day promotes sustainable water resource management along the Nam Xong River

Taking place in Vangvieng on 20 May 2011, the Nam Xong Clean Up Day brought together more than 400 people to learn about water resources management and to collect garbage and waste from along the river.

Nam Xong River at Vang Vieng, Lao PDR

Participants in the event included representatives from local government, the Nam Ngum River Basin Committee Secretariat, local villages, business associations, students and tourists.

The objectives of the Clean Up Day are to reduce water pollution in the Nam Xong, improve the surrounding environment and build a common understanding on the importance of water and the environment of the Nam Xong for local livelihoods.

The event was officially opened by H.E Mr. Phonekeo Khounphon, Vangvieng District Vice-Governor, and included an exhibition on the Nam Ngum River Basin Committee, as well as the proposed Nam Xong river sub-basin committee, a quiz, and the launch of a short film on the Nam Ngum River Basin, produced by the Asian Development Bank- supported Nam Ngum River Basin Development Sector Project by.

Six main clean up teams then used 100 tubs, 30 kayaks, 10 motor boats and a garbage transport truck to collect garbage in and along 20 kilometers of the Nam Xong River, removing a total of 1.1 tons of waste.

The Nam Xong Clean Up Day was made possible this year through the support of the Vientiane Provincial Authority, the Vangvieng District Governor, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Mekong Water Dialogues project, The Mekong River Commission (MRC) Basin Development Programme, AusAID, The Mekong Futures Project, Nam Ngum 2 Hydropower Company, Phubia Mining Company and the valuable contributions of local businesses.

About the Nam Xong River Basin:
The Nam Xong River Sub Basin (NXRSB) is one of 18 sub-basins of the Nam Ngum River Basin (NNRB). Located in the central-northern Lao PDR, the Nam Xong basin is 83 km north of Vientiane and 14 km south of Kasi District. The central and largest town in the basin is Vangvieng, which is well known for its beauty and tourist attractions. The Nam Xong and its tributaries are vital for income generation, particularly fisheries, tourism, mining and agriculture.

Like the rest of Lao PDR, the Nam Xong basin is developing rapidly, with an increasing population and growing agro-forestry, tourism, hydropower, mining and fisheries industries. Improved monitoring, information and understanding of developments along the river are needed to minimize adverse effects on the communities, economy and environment of the area.

Therefore, in order to help strengthen public awareness and build a common understanding about the need to protect the Nam Xong river basin, the concerned authorities organize the Nam Xong River Clean Up Day each year for a cleaner and healthier river.

About the Mekong Water Dialogues:
The Mekong Water Dialogues Programme (MWD), convened by IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature and supported by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, was initiated to work with countries of the Mekong Region - Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam - to improve water governance by facilitating transparent and inclusive decision-making to improve livelihood security, human and ecosystem health.

About IUCN
IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges by supporting scientific research; managing field projects all over the world; and bringing governments, NGOs, the UN, international conventions and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice.

The world's oldest and largest global environmental network, IUCN is a democratic membership union with more than 1,000 government and NGO member organizations, and almost 11,000 volunteer scientists and experts in some 160 countries. IUCN's work is supported by over 1,000 professional staff in 60 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world.

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