Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Fund intended to improve country’s urban sanitation



Fund intended to improve country’s urban sanitation

A woman covers her mouth and nose as she walks past a rubbish collection point in Phnom Penh
A woman covers her mouth and nose as she walks past a rubbish collection point in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district yesterday. Pha Lina

Fund intended to improve country’s urban sanitation

The government will set up a $5 million fund to allow Cambodia’s 26 provinces and municipalities to take responsibility for waste management in their cities, it was announced recently.

With a focus on garbage management, the decentralisation initiative, revealed at a two-day workshop in Phnom Penh late last week, will for the first time outline responsibilities for waste management at the city level.

Ministry of Environment spokesman Sao Sopheap said the idea was to empower cities to tackle the growing social, health and environmental consequences of poor sanitation.

“We are facing a real challenge and big problems with garbage management throughout the country,” Sopheap said.

“People are getting troubled with the inadequate service of garbage management; the government realises there is a need for public investment.”

Sopheap said although the first round of funding was earmarked for garbage collection, the program, if successful, would expand next year to include sewage management.

He added, however, that cities, particularly on the coast, could apply to use their cash for sewage or water management.

With funds from the program, which is coordinated by the ministries of Environment, Interior and Economy and Finance, municipalities will be able to develop strategies for improving garbage management.

They will also be given power to decide on contracts with collection companies and will receive technical support from the Ministry of Environment.

“This is a very significant step,” said Jon Morales, program manager for the Asia Foundation’s Urban Services Program in Cambodia.

“In the past, sub-national governments have really depended on the individual proactiveness of administrations; now, this gives them the legal framework and legal basis to act.”

By clearly delineating responsibilities, Morales said the program would address municipalities who had outsourced garbage collection and washed their hands of their duty to ensure good service.

“Just because you’ve outsourced the collection, doesn’t mean you’ve outsourced waste management services like evaluating performance, fielding complaints and being the go between for the collectors and the populace,” he said.

The program does not cover Phnom Penh, which is separately reviewing its contract with waste management company Cintri amid criticism of the firm’s performance.

Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Aunny Ieng said the city has yet to choose a company to build a much-needed incinerator at the city’s dump site, which, at the current rate of dumping, is likely to reach capacity within five years.

MOST VIEWED

  • With herd immunity likely in 2022, is Cambodia ready to reopen for tourism?

    The government aims to inoculate 80 per cent of the target population by June next year, giving it a head start among regional peers to reboot the sector but first, it has to do a few things to up its game A sign on a glass

  • US wants 'full access' to Ream Naval Base

    On June 11, the US embassy's Defense Attaché Colonel Marcus M Ferrara visited Ream Nava Base in coordination with Cambodian officials following the recent approval of Prime minister Hun Sen to allay the concerns on Chinese military presence at the base as raised by US Deputy

  • Jab drive heading to 5 provinces

    The government is set to vaccinate more than 1.2 million people in five provinces after finishing with Phnom Penh and neighbouring Kandal in an ongoing campaign administered by the ministries of Health and National Defence. The five provinces are Preah Sihanouk, Kampong Speu, Takeo, Kampong Cham

  • New immigration bill targets illegal foreigners in Kingdom

    General Department of Immigration (GDI) officials are discussing revisions to the new draft law on immigration to prevent foreigners from entering Cambodia illegally and to supervise those living in the Kingdom more effectively. The revisions draw wide support among civil society organisations. GDI director-general Kirth

  • School reopening can’t wait

    With the Covid-19 pandemic now well into its second year, safely reopening schools has become an urgent priority. School attendance is critical for children’s education and lifetime prospects. The long-term costs of closures – both for individual children and society – are simply too large to

  • Kingdom set to be a gold producer

    Cambodia will soon join the roster of gold producing countries after the government announced the commencement of commercial gold mining operations in the Okvau area in southwestern Mondulkiri province's Keo Seima district from June 21. Prime Minister Hun Sen on June 10 announced that after 14 years of