Luang Prabang must keep a constant vigil over trash, writes Bernie Rosenbloom for We Are Laos.
An ongoing storm of litter rains down on a community that takes great pride in their UNESCO World Heritage city.
An occasional showing of troops to pick up rubbish isn’t sustainable. Luang Prabang knows they need a dedicated effort to keep the city clean and green. And they have one; the “Luang Prabang Clean Up”.
“The cleaning of Luang Prabang began as a private initiative in 2014, with a few businesses volunteering to take on the responsibility,” explained Chansamai “Mai” Rattanasuvannaphon, the Green School Project Manager at the Urban Development and Administration Authority (UDAA).
In March 2015, the Lao Education Opportunity Trust (LEOT), under the UDAA, launched the first official monthly Luang Prabang Clean Up with several organisations participating.
Somsack Sengta, owner of the Blue Lagoon restaurant, emerged as a Team Leader.
Mr Sengta said that nowadays 15-20 organizations, including travel-related businesses, government offices, and schools join in the clean ups, which are generally held on the last Saturday of each month.
Michael Roehrig, Trails of Indochina General Manager in Laos, noted that Luang Prabang has always been the highlight for tourists coming to Laos, “and the fact that it is awarded, clean, and well taken care of will certainly push the number of tourist arrivals higher.”
The town is applying for the ASEAN Clean Tourist City Standard (ACTCS) in early 2018.