Hanoi disconnected electricity for an hour on Sunday in early observance of Earth Hour as the capital is poised to host a large-scale international diplomatic event on March 28, when the lights-off activities will be held worldwide.
Yesterday’s event ran from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm in Hanoi, while a similar event is slated to take place in other Vietnamese cities and provinces from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm on Saturday in tandem with Earth Hour 2015, a global environmental movement launched by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to promote energy saving.
At 8:30 pm sharp on Sunday on Cach Mang Thang Tam Square in Hoan Kiem District, leaders of the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Hanoi People’s Committee issued the signal to turn off the lights for one hour.
Almost 1,000 young people present at the square chanted aloud the message “Earth Hour, cut off electricity not only for one hour.”
All the lighting systems at the square and in many other downtown areas including the edifices of the Hanoi People’s Council and People’s Committee, Guom and Truc Bach Lakes, the capital’s icons, and on many major streets were turned off synchronously.
Policemen were deployed to ensure security during the one-hour Earth Hour lights-off event in Hanoi on March 22, 2015. Photo: Tuoi Tre
The owner of a sidewalk tea shop in Hanoi used a battery-operated light during the March 22, 2015 lights-off event. Photo: Tuoi Tre
According to Vu Huy Hoang, Minister of Industry and Trade, Hanoi was the first locality to hold the lights-off event in the country.
The capital’s early observance of Earth Hour 2015 is due to the coincidence with its hosting the 132nd Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) conference, scheduled for Saturday to April 1, with the participation of nearly 2,000 foreign delegates from 150 nations and international organizations.
The IPU is the principal statutory body that expresses views on political issues. It brings together parliamentarians to study international problems and make recommendations for action.
Five hundred students of schools and universities in Hanoi on Sunday morning cycled through the city’s streets as part of the Earth Hour activities.
The volunteers stopped at sidewalks, parks and lakes where they picked up litter and handed out leaflets to persuade locals to turn off their unnecessary lights and electrical appliances during the lights-off event which took place later the same day.
According to the event organizer, as of March 21, over 3,000 owners of households, companies and restaurants in the capital pledged to switch off their lights during the event.
In a similar vein, nearly 1,000 youths and students of schools and universities in the central city of Da Nang on Sunday morning gathered at the eastern end of the Rong (Dragon) Bridge, located in the city’s Son Tra District, to kick off this year’s local Earth Hour program.
The delegates and the youths joined an array of environmental protection activities, including cycling, signing vows to turn off lights during the event and conserve energy, joining flash mob dances, and giving colored palm prints on messages aimed at encouraging electricity conservation.
Nearly 1,000 youths and students of schools and universities in the central city of Da Nang on March 22, 2015 gathered at the eastern end of the Rong (Dragon) Bridge, located in the city’s Son Tra District, to kick off this year’s local Earth Hour program. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Likewise, more than 1,000 volunteers and hundreds of students participated in Green Hour – Music for the Earth 2015 in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 7 on Sunday, as part of a series of activities dedicated to Earth Hour 2015.
The volunteers also took part in the “Chuyen Dong Xanh” (Green Motion) campaign by bicycling on streets and talking locals into joining the lights-off event.
The official lights-off event on March 28 is expected to be joined by over 5,000 residents in Ho Chi Minh City, according to the organizer.
This is the seventh year that Vietnam has held activities in support of the global Earth Hour campaign.
The Southeast Asian country saved around 401MW during the 2013 Earth Hour and 431MW during the 2014 event.
The Earth Hour campaign started as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia in 2007.
Since then it has grown to engage more than 162 countries and territories worldwide, according to its website.
The campaign includes a simple yet significant action: switching off lights for one hour on the last Saturday of March every year in an attempt to enhance people’s awareness of energy saving and environmental protection on the global scale.