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Government formulates new policy on urban waste management

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
Neth Pheaktra, spokesman for the Environment Ministry. KT/Siv Channa

The government is formulating a new policy on urban garbage collection to strengthen waste management and protect the environment better.

Neth Pheaktra, Environment Ministry spokesman, said at a press conference yesterday the policy is being formulated following termination of Cintri (Cambodia) Ltd’s licence to collect and dispose of urban garbage.

He said the government is working to develop a policy on urban waste management aimed at improving cleanliness and the environment.

Mr Pheaktra could not say when the policy will be ready for implementation.

“We are pushing to issue it [policy] as soon as possible because the situation is now critical and we need to put in place proper mechanisms to collect and dispose waste,” he said. “We need to establish specific areas where garbage is collected and provide more dumpsites to manage waste disposal.”

Mr Pheaktra noted that Cambodia produces about four million tonnes of garbage yearly or more than 10,000 tonnes daily, of which 65 percent is organic waste, 20 percent is plastic waste and the rest solid and other waste.

He added that the amount of garbage being thrown away is increasing by about 15 percent yearly due to a growing population, more consumption of goods and limited waste recycling facilities.

Mr Pheaktra said there are 106 landfills across the country, noting that 79 districts and cities still do not have landfills yet.

“Therefore, in order to ensure effective waste management, avoid environmental pollution and safeguard public health, we need to create more landfills which meet technical standards and can absorb the amount of waste produced daily,” he said. “We also need to reserve land for future landfills when they are needed.”

Mr Pheaktra said urban waste management across the Kingdom had improved last year compared with previous years because more attention was paid to environmental hygiene issues, garbage collection and transport, well organised clean-ups along major roads and parks and the clearing of piles of garbage in several areas in the capital and provinces.

He added that the ministry has provided funds to some groups to collect and transport garbage for disposal and setting up incinerators in some districts which are far away from landfills.

Mr Pheaktra noted that the ministry had also put in place mechanisms to reduce the use of plastic waste.

Chhay Mouykeang, a vendor in Phnom Penh’s Chamkar Mon district, said yesterday he supports the government’s efforts to manage waste and ensure a clean environment and promote public health.

“Currently, we see that the management and collection of garbage has improved but the collection of rubbish seems to be slow, particularly during festivals,” she said. “We see garbage which has not been collected for a few days piling up along some roads and markets.”

Yong Kim Eng, president of the People Centre for Development and Peace, said yesterday the issue of urban waste management requires a clear policy so that people can work with the relevant authorities to help promote a cleaner environment.

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