Clean Up Day promotes sustainable water management along the Nam Xong River, Lao PDR

The Nam Xong Clean Up Day brought together hundreds of people in Vanvieng to learn about water resources management and collect waste from river banks.

Nam Xong River at Vang Vieng, Lao PDR Photo: Charlotte Hicks/IUCN Lao PDR

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

The objectives of the Clean Up Day were 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.

Dozens of clean up teams used tubes, kayaks, motor boats and a garbage transport truck to collect waste 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 valuable contributions from local businesses.

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 Lao's capital Vientiane. The central and largest town in the basin is Vangvieng, which is well known for its beauty and as a major tourist centre. 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 fishery 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.

The Mekong Water Dialogues Programme (MWD), convened by IUCN and supported by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, was initiated to work with countries of the Lower 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.

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