Solar-powered boats to clean up the Mekong

The solar-powered boats donated by Hanwha to the Clean Up Mekong campaign will use conveyor belts to quickly and efficiently scoop floating trash on the Mekong River’s surface

To commemorate World Environment Day on June 5, Hanwha is launching the “Clean Up Mekong” campaign in Vinh Long Province in collaboration with the Vietnam Environment Administration and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) of Vietnam. The campaign will combat the pollutants floating in the Mekong River.

Central to the campaign’s launch was the unveiling ceremony for solar-powered boats, donated by Hanwha, which will be used to clean the river.

Combating pollution with solar power

The Mekong is a trans-boundary river that runs through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and finally Vietnam before discharging into sea. It moves 475 km3 of water annually and supports over 70 million people who rely on it as their main source of water.

However, indiscriminately disposed waste and sewage discharge along the river’s length has turned the Mekong into one of the world’s 10 most polluted rivers. The pollutants ultimately float into the ocean and threaten marine life. As Vietnam is the last country the river runs through, the Clean Up Mekong campaign aims to remove waste before it enters the ocean, at the riverside city of Vinh Long.

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The key to the campaign’s cleanup efforts will be solar-powered boats donated by Hanwha. Powered and propelled by Hanwha Q CELLS’ Q.PEAK solar modules, the boats will be used to scoop up waste in the Mekong River without emitting any greenhouse gases or other pollutants. The boats are also silent, resulting in minimal disturbance to local wildlife.

The Hanwha Solar Forest campaign is another initiative to support the UN SDGs that works to combat desertification and air pollution by planting new forests with trees grown in solar-powered nurseries. This project was cited as the world-first practice for utilising solar energy to fight desertification at the United Nations Conventions to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) COP Summit in 2011. And through its Happy Sunshine initiative, Hanwha has donated 1,779kW worth of solar power systems to 254 community development projects and isolated communities since 2011.

The solar-powered boats donated by Hanwha to the Clean Up Mekong campaign will use conveyor belts to quickly and efficiently scoop floating trash on the Mekong River’s surface

Spreading awareness on environmental issues and encouraging public engagement

Ahead of the handover ceremony for the solar-powered boats, Hanwha implemented a social media campaign to raise public awareness on the environmental issues caused by water pollution. The campaign also speaks to the importance of environmentally friendly energy sources and its benefits. The campaign was aimed at supporting the UN SDGs Target 12.5 and 12.8 to substantially reduce waste generation and to ensure that people everywhere had the information necessary for sustainable development and lifestyle that is in harmony with nature.

Vietnamese citizens were encouraged to spread the news of the campaign by uploading messages of encouragement and support on Facebook – the more messages got uploaded, the bigger a solar hero character became. As a result, 3.4 million video views and more than 9000 shares were posted on Facebook in just a week. The awareness campaign proved to be a success.

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