"Garbage in Phnom Penh has changed because of people," Chiek Ang, deputy
environment director at the Municipality of Phnom Penh, told participants at a recent
workshop on waste management.
"In 2003 the population was over 1 million producing 667 tons of waste a day.
The 2015 projection is 2 million people producing double that amount. We have set
a target of reducing that projection to 241 tons per day by promoting community awareness
of the problem. 'Reduce, reuse, recycle' is the slogan," he said.
"The economy has improved and more garbage is created. If people are not aware
the waste keeps increasing. With understanding we can reduce waste.
"We must have a policy and program to minimize and control waste. There are
public health, safety and welfare issues.
"Garbage holding and disposal areas are the critical issues. Garbage must be
collected regularly otherwise it affects the city environment and lifestyles. The
local authority must organize and regulate the collection. The way we calculate the
fees does not currently involve the community. If they are not happy with the service
they will not pay.
"The sangkats have to work more closely with the MPP, in collaboration with
the collection contractor.
"Dangerous garbage must be separated at source with willing community participation.
We should not have to force people, it doesn't work.
"Hazardous waste causes landfill problems. We have to protect our water and
air from pollution.
"There must be a day to day program to reduce waste volume; this is essential
for sustainable waste management.
"Current systems have to change (ie at factories). Bring less waste into your
house. The markets should think about package wrapping which produces a great deal
"Reuse: don't throw it away. Can it be repaired or reused? We must encourage
use of recycled materials."
* Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema told the same workshop: "If we don't prepare
a proper solid waste management program now, the problem will be 100 times worse
by 2015. It is our duty."