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A section of cleared land in Pailin province earlier this month where a proposed dumpsite was to be constructed. Photo supplied

Ministry puts brakes on Pailin dump plans

The Ministry of Environment has called on local authorities in Pailin province to find a new location for a 34-hectare dumpsite currently planned for a protected forest.

Environment Minister Say Sam Al, who led a team to inspect the site on October 3, wrote to Pailin Governor Keut Sothear following the visit explaining that Samlot Protected Forest had been deemed an unsuitable area for the dump.

“The team observed that the location is not appropriate for a solid-waste dumpsite because it is on a gradient, which can affect the biodiversity and quality of the environment, (especially the springs) in the area,” the minister wrote in the letter dated October 16, which was obtained yesterday.

He added that provincial authorities should find a new location for the dumpsite, which will be used to house rubbish from Pailin town.

The provincial government and Environment Department in 2010 set aside the area, which is under the joint protection of the Environment Ministry and the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation (MJP), for the dumpsite, despite having no approval from the central ministry.

Environment Ministry spokesman Sao Sopheap yesterday confirmed that the site had been deemed unsuitable.

But Sothear, the provincial governor, claimed that he had not yet received the letter.

“Let’s wait for the documents to arrive before deciding what to do. The location will be inspected, but we have not reserved a new location yet.”

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