Return to Vietnam

Mekong Delta sets sustainable living example

Posted May 2

Along the Mekong River

One of my favorite places during our visit to Vietnam was the Mekong Delta. It is a region that has perhaps the richest soil for growing produce in the world without chemicals. Most of the water that isn 't provided by nature (rainwater) is pumped from the river. It is that water that adds nutrients to the soil.

The Mekong River plays many other important functions for the people who live near it. It is used as a water supply, for food, as a source of wildlife and more.

The nearby coconut crop is a great example of its eco-function. In the Mekong Delta every part of the coconut is put to use. The crop is harvested and travels the river to the many processing operations along the banks. The juice and fruit are extracted and the shells are used for fuel and to make wood like products like furniture.

Coconut shells are also ground up, mixed with river clay and pressed into bricks. Those bricks are stacked and allowed to dry. After a period, the bricks are loaded into a kiln that is fueled by rice husks. The black ash from the fire is then used for natural fertilizer.

This whole production process provides jobs and a needed product for building development. It 's a great example of sustainability and renewability by using an inexhaustible resource for new growth.

Maybe these basic, sustainable practices can be an example for other underdeveloped areas, like Haiti in our Western hemisphere. Those are the thoughts of this non-expert while traveling the Mekong River.

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About this Blog:

WRAL producer/director Clarence Williams is going back to Vietnam, where he served in the war 44 years ago. He'll blog about his experience during his 13-day trip and share stories and pictures along the way.