The Environment Ministry, in collaboration with the Japanese embassy and City Hall, on Sunday launched a community garbage collection drive involving about 800 Cambodian and Japanese volunteers in the capital.
Ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra said yesterday that the clean-up drive, titled Phnom Penh City Clean Challenge with Japan, is to be held annually.
He noted that the campaign provides an opportunity for those who care for the environment to join hands and help clean up the city.
“It is a valuable activity to promote environmental awareness, and get people to love the environment and join hands to keep the city clean,” he said.
In a report last month, the ministry said that the amount of garbage produced in the country has surged at a rate of about ten percent each year, spurred by population growth, changes in lifestyle and packaging, and a lack of understanding on how to sort waste.
In Phnom Penh alone, about 3,000 tonnes of trash is being collected daily and only about 20 percent of it is recycled with between 70 and 80 percent taken to landfills.
Mr Pheaktra said that the public should view the city as a bigger part of their house and join hands to keep it clean by throwing waste into trash bins and sorting recyclable waste.
“I believe that the Phnom Penh City Clean Challenge with Japan project shows solidarity between Cambodian and Japanese people who want to protect the environment by collecting garbage carelessly strewn all over the city,” he said.
Japanese Ambassador to Cambodia Hidehisa Horinouchi said yesterday that garbage collection problems also occur in Japan.
He said that next year Japan and Cambodia will jointly host international events in both countries, noting there will be an increase of foreign visitors.
Mr Horinouchi added that tourists will get a good impression of a country if cities are clean.
“I hope that from now on, both Japanese and Cambodian people will cooperate with each other to protect the environment and beauty of Phnom Penh,” he said.