The Environment Ministry released a statement on Friday disputing social media criticism that said the ministry had failed to monitor air pollution.
The ministry countered recent reports saying that the air quality in Cambodia is beyond breathable.
In the statement, the Environment Ministry said that such reports create confusion, especially with travellers and workers in public places.
The ministry stated that since 2003, air quality surveys were conducted in Phnom Penh and other major Cambodian cities to monitor air quality.
The statement said that the ministry equipped air quality monitoring devices to detect PM10 and PM2.5 (air particles), such as dust, bacteria and coal particles.
“The results show that all parameters are under the standard limit,” the statement said. “Which means that there is no serious air pollution, contrary to recent reports.”
Heng Nareth, director-general of the Environment Ministry’s Protection Department, and Thiv Sophearith, chief of the air quality, noise and vibration office with the ministry, declined to comment.
Kin Chanratanak, a Phnom Penh resident, asked the ministry to continue to monitor air quality and said that additional measures should be taken to protect the environment.
“It’s a good idea to have trees planted on city streets because it’s good to purify the air and reduce heat,” he said.
According to the World Health Organisation’s report on global air pollution released earlier this month, air pollution kills about seven million people annually.
The report said that most of the victims were people from poorer economic regions in the Asia-Pacific region, but did not explicitly cite Cambodia.
In January, three Cambodian cities – Battambang, Kep and Siem Reap – received the Asean clean tourism award at the Asean Tourism Forum 2018.
The distinction places the Cambodian cities in an exclusive 23-member group of the cleanest cities in the Asean region, and is proof that they adhere to Asean’s standards for city cleanliness.
The Asean clean tourist city standards were endorsed by Cambodia in 2011 following a request by Asean during the Asean Tourism Forum in 2011, which has held in Phnom Penh. This set of standards was approved and officially implemented in 2015.
Cambodia had entered seven cities into the Asean clean tourism city competition – Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Kampot, Kep, Sihanoukville, Battambang and Kampong Cham. All these locations came on top at the national clean city competition, according to the Ministry of Tourism.