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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - B'bang waste is going 'green'

B'bang waste is going 'green'

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Waste management group COMPED has announced plans to help turn some of Battambang's garbage into compost that can be sold to farmers as fertiliser.

Photo by: Photo Supplied

COMPED workers at the new dumpsite in Battambong province watch as biodegradable waste is unloaded from a truck.

BATTAMBANG waste is soon to turn green under a new initiative that will transform garbage into biodegradable compost, organisers have announced.

The new green scheme, run by the Cambodia Education and Waste Management Organisation (COMPED) and funded by the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, is estimated to cost about US$200,000 and aims to increase the production of compost in Battambang by six tonnes per day once the program begins in early April.

"Development of the waste management program in Battambang city started on January 1, with the goal of improving living conditions of those living on the site," said Chau Kim Heng, director of COMPED.

"We are building permanent housing for waste-pickers, two classrooms for the families of waste-pickers and three sanitation blocks on the site," he said.

Some 16 familes, totalling around 80 people, work on the Battambang site, said Danial Haas, first secretary for development cooperation at the German embassy in Phnom Penh.

"The aim of this project is to improve the living and labour conditions of the waste dump workers, increasing their income by 250 percent by the end of 2010," he said.

Public awareness of waste

Chau Kim said that the Battambang program would also try to raise public awareness of the importance of waste management through education projects.

"Our program in Battambang will educate farmers on the environmental advantages of proper waste management and build partnerships with the local Battambang municipality," he said.

COMPED, which also runs a waste management program at Phnom Penh's notorious Stung Meanchey dumpsite, has been working to reduce waste buildup in the capital since 2000. In 2004, the German Ministry of Agriculture began funding the project, coinciding with the European Union's funding of a waste and water management program that helped develop guidelines for the disposal, treatment, collection and transport of solid waste between 2004 and 2006.

Uk Vong, Battambang deputy governor, told the Post that he was happy new modes of waste management were being introduced.

"As I am aware, the use of compost is still not very common among farmers because most farmers in Battambang province still trust chemical fertiliser," he said.

"[But] if there are experts coming to explain and train people about how to make compost by processing garbage, and if they can persuade people to participate in this effort, it will be a big success for us all," he said.

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