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Toxic waste at Sihanoukville imported from the US, Canada

Ben Sokhean / Khmer Times Share:
The 83 containers filled with rubbish found at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port. MOE

After 83 containers filled with waste of various materials were found at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port, investigations has revealed that the waste amounting to 1,600 tonnes of garbage were imported from the United States and Canada, an Environment Ministry official said.

Environment Ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra said the 83 containers originated from the US and Canada.

“Based on preliminary result of the investigation, those 83 containers of banned plastic garbage, which authorities had cracked down at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port, were imported from the United States and Canada,” Mr Pheaktra said.

Mr Pheaktra said that the Environment Ministry officials cooperated with customs officials to open all 83 containers to find evidences.

“The expert authorities are conducting deep investigations to find out ultimate reason in allowing the banned plastic garbage to enter Cambodia,” he said. “The authorities are also investigating the companies that imported these wastes in order to take action against them.

The 83 containers filled with unwanted wastes, which contained mostly plastic, were found on Tuesday afternoon at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port during a crackdown on banned waste by a number of national and sub-national officials.

The US Embassy spokeswoman Emily Zeeberg said in an email today that the Embassy is monitoring the issues.

“The US Embassy is monitoring reports of plastic waste at the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port,” Ms Zeebergsaid. “We have requested additional information and are offering U.S. government assistance to determine both the exporter (country of origin) and the importing entity here in Cambodia.”

Environment Minister Say Samal said on Tuesday that the containers will be returned to their original source and those who imported them would be punished.

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