Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng yesterday committed to solving the ongoing problems of the capital as the rainy season arrives, including floods and poor garbage collection.
Speaking during the press conference held by the Royal Government Spokesperson Unit at the Council of Ministers, Mr Sreng said the administration is trying its utmost to solve the capital’s environmental problems, noting that under Prime Minister Hun Sen’s leadership, the capital has transformed from being a “pitiful city” to a modernised one.
While flooding during the rainy season has been a persistent problem, Mr Sreng assured this is being gradually being resolved by City Hall.
“I am proud to say that floods in Phnom Penh no longer last for more than a day,” he said. Municipal officials have also been mobilised to cooperate with all 14 districts in preparation of heavy rainfall.
However, he said some low-lying plains may still experience some flooding due to the landfill sites that are usually found within such areas. As such, Mr Sreng said he has ordered his officials to prepare water pumps in the flood-prone areas, noting several infrastructures have been constructed across the capital to mitigate risks of flooding, including eight pumping stations, eight paved canals and a drainage system spanning 900 kilometres.
Mr Sreng said with the authorisation of the Ministry of Interior and the support of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, City Hall created the “Phnom Penh Autonomous Excise Solid Waste Management Authority” to deal with the capital’s waste problem. “We hope garbage collection will be better in Phnom Penh in the near future,” he said.
In October last year, Mr Hun Sen revoked the licence of the capital’s only and private waste disposal contractor Cintri, saying the government will take over the company to provide a better and more efficient service.
At the same time, the premier said the city will eventually have several collection zones. One waste collection company will be assigned to each, all of which will be chosen through public bidding, he said.
Mr Sreng said yesterday six private companies participated in the bidding process and only half of them were selected. The companies, he said, have to collect about 100 tonnes of rubbish per day at target locations across the 14 districts.
With efforts to improve waste disposal and management in the capital, Mr Sreng called for the people’s increased participation in keeping the city clean. He also urged them to pay waste collection fees regularly.
On February 1, residents were allowed to pay such dues electronically via several service payment providers, such as Acleda Bank, Wing Limited Specialised Bank, e-money, Ly Hour Pay Pro Plc, Pi Pay and True Money.
San Daravid, the founder of the volunteer group Garbage Youth, said yesterday the effectiveness of waste management is contingent on the collaborative efforts of authorities, waste disposal companies and the people.
Mr Daravid, who has regularly organised youth-run waste collection drives, noted some companies sometimes fail to collect rubbish on time, causing such to pile up along the streets of the capital.
“If there is no participation from the people, efforts to solve the problem are not likely to succeed. I support the measure of the City Hall to allow three waste disposal contractors to facilitate the collection of waste; it is better than just having one,” he said, adding flooding in Phnom Penh has been more manageable this year after reconstructions in the drainage system.
The capital generates 2,000 to 3,000 tonnes of rubbish daily, 600 of which is plastic. As a whole, Cambodia produces more than 10,000 tonnes of waste every day, amounting to over 3.6 million tonnes a year.