Minister of Environment Say Sam Al said efforts to make Phnom Penh a sustainable smart city means tackling air pollution and other environmental issues.
Sam Al made the remarks at a ceremony to launch the city’s first air quality monitoring vehicle at the ministry on Tuesday.
The vehicle, named “Vishnu”, or “protector”, is the first to track air quality.
“To turn the capital into a sustainable smart city, we must improve the environment and we want to know which places in Phnom Penh have good air or bad air, so we’ve installed air quality monitoring equipment.
“Phnom Penh is the same as Sihanoukville, which now has less air pollution because there is less construction,” Sam Al said.
Chea Sina, director-general of the ministry’s General Directorate of Environment Protection (GDEP), said the air quality monitoring vehicle is the first such vehicle of its kind in the country.
It can monitor 16 various air quality parametres and allows the ministry to monitor and collect air quality data that can be shared with the public.
Sina said through cooperation between the ministry and China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEP), Cambodia will build 10 air quality monitoring stations by the end of this year to forecast air quality in the country accurately.
He said the air quality problem is already closely monitored, especially particles of air smaller than 2.5 microns, called PM2.5.
“Responding to concerns, the GDEP has established preventive measures to reduce air pollution. We have 49 automatic air quality monitoring machines to install – 11 in Phnom Penh, 28 in the provinces and will install 10 more,” he said.
An environment ministry’s air quality report shows air quality has drastically declined and the existence of small harmful particles has risen to a level that poses a risk to human health.
In a January statement, the ministry said the main causes of an increase in those particles include industrial and vehicle emissions, wildfires, waste fires and construction sites.