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PM blames floods on rubbish

PRIME Minister Hun Sen yesterday called on tourists and the general public to stop discarding rubbish in the streets, saying it was contributing to the clogging of drains and thus causing floods after heavy rains.

“If people throw rubbish, then the flooding problem is not due to drainage or rain. It is the fault of the people,” Hun Sen said.

“If people put their rubbish in plastic bags and put them in rubbish bins, the benefit will go to them, not to [Phnom Penh Governor] Kep Chuktema, as they will keep their city clean.”

His comments came during a ceremony in the capital marking the completion of the second phase of a US$30 million flood prevention and drainage improvement project funded by Japan.

Construction work for the second phase began in October 2007 and was completed in February, according to a press release issued yesterday by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

In May, City Hall began issuing fines to people caught littering in an effort to curb flooding, but flooding has continued throughout Phnom Penh during this year’s wet season.

“We have fined many people already at the markets and the public parks,” Chiek Ang, director of municipal Environment Department, said
yesterday.

“We have seen an improvement, but the problem is that people from the provinces still do not understand, and we need to enforce the rules together.”

He said that as of August 21, authorities had collected $2,610 in fines.

Nov Saroeun, chief of the drainage and pumping unit at the Municipal Public Works and Transport Department, declined to comment beyond saying that the first phase of the project began in 2004.

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