Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday announced the government will acquire and manage Cintri (Cambodia), the private company contracted to collect and dispose of waste in the capital.
Speaking during a graduation ceremony at Phnom Penh’s Diamond Island Convention and Exhibition Centre, Mr Hun Sen said the biggest problems in the capital are the mounting piles of trash, traffic jams and a lack of parking.
He asked the Ministry of Economy and Finance and Phnom Penh City Hall to work with Cintri on the acquisition, adding that the government must purchase and manage the company to provide a better and more efficient service.
He said that, under government management, the company will not lose money.
“I think Cintri will not argue with this decision,” Mr Hun Sen said. “We signed a contract with Cintri, allowing them to operate and collect waste, in 1996 or 1997 – more than 20 years ago. Back then the city only generated around 500 tonnes of waste per day but now it is up to 3,000 tonnes per day because the city has expanded so fast.”
“We will buy Cintri. Then we will start collecting the waste in the city,” he said.Mr Hun Sen said the government will eventually divide the city into several collection zones, assigning one waste collection company to each. A total of four companies will be chosen through public bidding to provide waste collection services, he said, warning of the need for the bidding process to be transparent.
“We cannot allow Cintri alone to provide waste collection services anymore. With only one company in charge of this task, when the company is not working or its workers are on holiday, uncollected rubbish piles up.
“We must acquire Cintri and all its equipment and City Hall can manage it. After the acquisition, we will manage all Cintri’s staff. Then, we will start to prepare the new zones and allow other companies to join the bidding process to collect the waste and clean the city. We will do it zone by zone.”
Cintri has 2,300 employees.
The prime minister said the government has opened four new landfill sites at Kean Svay and Ang Snoul districts, which have yet to be put into operation.
The premier also said the government will subsidise any investment on waste-to-energy (WTE) from the private sector so long as it uses local waste. He said using imported waste to generate energy is not allowed.
“Although the cost of generating energy from waste is a bit high, the government will not hesitate to offer subsidies. If we do not do this, we will be flooded by rubbish in the future,” the prime minister said.
Cintri has been criticised for poor service in Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville. In 2017, a new company was awarded the contract to collect waste in Sihanoukville. After a one-month bidding process, KSWM displaced Cintri as the sole trash collector in the coastal city.
Every day, Phnom Penh generates 2,000 to 3,000 tonnes of rubbish, 600 tonnes of which is plastic waste. As a whole, Cambodia produces more than 10,000 tonnes of waste daily, more than 3.6 million tonnes a year.
This includes all categories of waste – household, industrial, hazardous, construction, and demolition rubbish.