The 1River Music Festival, Cambodia’s first-ever pro-environment music concert, is set to be held from Sunday to Tuesday.
The theme of the concert is: “Using the Power of Music to Protect the Environment: Say No to Plastic”.
Environment Ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra yesterday in a press conference said plastic rubbish is a worldwide problem and the ministry is taking advantage of Water Festival weekend to raise awareness.
“The ministry will take this chance to organise a concert to disseminate information about the disadvantages of using plastic,” Mr Pheaktra said, noting that thousands of people will attend the Water Festival.
He said the ministry is cooperating with United Nations Development Programme, the Embassy of Sweden, the European Union, the Australian embassy, Mitsubishi Corporation, Forte Insurance and Baramey Productions to make the concert happen.
“We strongly believe and expect that this concert will help to spread knowledge about the environment,” Mr Pheaktra said. “It is also to encourage our people to love the environment and reduce the use of plastic bags because plastic bags are used more and more in Cambodia due to economic growth and increased population.”
Laura Mam, musician and co-founder of Baramey Productions, yesterday said 1River Music Festival will go alongside a digital campaign against plastic waste.
Ms Mam said the concert and the anti-plastic campaign is a tremendous opportunity for Cambodian youths to show off their creativity and talent while fighting to protect the Kingdom’s environment.
“Baramey is proud to be leveraging the influence of our music stars for social good…to change hearts and minds about plastic use,” she said.
Ms Mam said environmental issues cannot be solved by only a few people. She said it requires shared ownership, pride and action by every single person living in Cambodia.
“I hope that our celebration during Water Festival will not only be a celebration of our amazing boat racers but…a celebration of our willingness and ability to race towards a brighter future, together, hand-in-hand, as one community,” she said.
UNDP representative Nick Beresford yesterday said plastic waste is one of the most visible challenges facing Cambodia.
Mr Beresford noted the global volume of plastic recently reached 8.3 billion metric tonnes.
“This year the Water Festival will not only be a time for celebration but also a time for creating a movement for positive actions to protect our rivers and our environment,” Mr Beresford said. “I hope that after this Water Festival, more people will understand the impacts of plastic waste, reduce the use of single-use plastic and promote the use of reusable alternatives.”
According to UNDP, four million tonnes of waste are produced every year in Phnom Penh. It noted 20 percent of all waste generated in the capital is plastic.
Research shows Cambodians in urban areas use more than 2,000 plastic bags every year and these bags are thrown away on streets and enter canals.
Magnus Saemundsson, first secretary of the Swedish Embassy, yesterday said that people need to curb the amount of plastic in circulation by reducing demands.
“We have to start by removing all consumer single-use plastic wherever it is possible. The Environment Ministry is taking a huge step for a better environment with the campaign to reduce single plastic use,” Mr Saemundsson said.
He said the 1River Music Festival is a great initiative. He called it a festival within the Water Festival that uses the power of music to gather exciting crowds and to deliver the key messages of the campaign.
“In a clean environment, all life flourishes,” Mr Saemundsson said.