A month-long campaign to clean up the capital kicks off today as Phnom Penh prepares to host hundreds of thousands of visitors for the three-day Water Festival, which starts tomorrow.
The government, businesses and NGOs are all taking part in the “Clean Phnom Penh” campaign, or “Phnom Penh Sa-at” in Khmer language, which calls on people not to drop their rubbish on the streets.
Campaign head Chea Sophalla said work to manage waste in the city is improving the cleanliness of the capital.
“To deal with this urgent task, it has to start from every single one of us that lives, works, and breathes in this city,” she said.
“All of us have come together because we believe there is a strong need to push for awareness as well as action regarding waste management among people living in Phnom Penh. It has to start now from us, from our homes, and then this will lead to the public space which we all share.”
She added that Phnom Penh is getting more developed and crowded, which brings additional challenges for waste management.
“We hope that as good citizens of Phnom Penh and Cambodia, we can contribute by engaging all sectors and groups and encourage more efforts and solutions to waste management,” Ms Sophalla said.
Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron said on Saturday the campaign would involve public and private educational institutions, including 40 public schools in Phnom Penh.
“Groups of young volunteers will be deployed to conduct outreach with students at these schools to inculcate knowledge about the value of a clean environment with the support of educators,” he said.
Hun Many, president of the Union of Youth Federation of Cambodia, said: “I hope the Phnom Penh Sa-at campaign will serve as an additional means of resolution, alongside existing government mechanisms, to address waste management issues in Cambodia, especially when it comes to educating the young to jointly solve the problem through active participation.”