At Phnom Penh’s Samaky Market, a city hall banner flies like a beacon of hope for the city’s future as an environmentally sustainable place for all. It tells us to separate our trash, so that we can start a proper recycling program – and also, that violators will be punished for not adhering to the new law.
But to my shock, a CINTRI rubbish collection truck took the recyclables and dumped it all in with the trash. They didn’t separate it, as they’re supposed to.
Out of curiosity, I followed the CINTRI truck. I nearly keeled over on my motorbike from the horrifying smell. As we veered off onto a narrow road, I saw a man – accompanied by a bag, who looked like a maid, tearing though the big bags of trash before through it into the truck in order to sort out recyclable materials to sell.
If ordinary people are meant to abide by the law, how are we supposed to feel if big companies are violating it – without any punishment? And how are we meant to feel, as citizens, if our rubbish collectors are making the city dirtier?