The Phnom Penh municipal administration has said that this year’s three-day Water Festival passed off smoothly and without any major incidents, and in particular noted that people disposed of their rubbish in an orderly manner.
Phnom Penh Municipal Hall spokesman Met Meas Pheakdey said the festival was celebrated as usual in a joyful atmosphere and without any noteworthy problems, and he considered this year to be special in the way rubbish was disposed of.
“Over the three days, there were no significant problems. It was very peaceful in the capital. The thing that was noteworthy was the rubbish – this year, our people’s attitudes have markedly improved.
“There was the same amount of rubbish because there were many people as usual. Where there is eating, there is waste, but the majority of the rubbish was put in dustbins and not scattered around.
“Two factors contributed to the improvement. First was the preparedness of the relevant authorities, who had readied dumpsites for those enjoying the celebrations. The other was people participating in learning about the environment when they came to enjoy the festival,” Meas Pheakdey said.
Bun Veasna, an official at the National Committee for Organising National and International Festivals, told The Post on Wednesday that public order had been better over the three days than last year, with fewer incidents.
He said there had been minor incidents, such as a boat sinking, people fainting and a fire.
“According to a report, there was more rubbish this year, but nothing unusual compared to 2017 and 2018. Literally millions of people joined in the celebrations.
“We delegated the task of keeping the environment clean to the Phnom Penh Municipal Hall. Now our committee is handing out rewards and gifts to representatives of the boat rowers,” Veasna said.
A report by the Ministry of Health said on Wednesday that during the three days of the Water Festival a total of 18,089 people (5,220 women) received medical treatment in 12 locations and 68 ambulances were deployed in target locations.
Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra wrote on Facebook on Tuesday that volunteer youth assisted with the clean-up operation after the festival and said their activities helped to promote awareness of waste management.
“The volunteer youths’ activities will stay in the memory of the Cambodian people. They earned respect and love in the hearts of hundreds of thousands of people who saw them sweeping up during the Water Festival,” he said.
Dangkor Dumpsite Management Committee director Keo Channarith told The Post on Wednesday that during the three days, nearly 1,000 operatives and nearly 200 rubbish trucks collected more than 6,500 tonnes of rubbish in 12 districts, with around 30 per cent collected from the main area of the celebrations.
“Last year there was more than 8,000 tonnes of rubbish. In my observation, this year was better than last year in terms of rubbish collection.
“Our citizens have learned a lot and we have also paid greater attention to the issue. We publicised where to properly place rubbish and how to bag it,” he said.
Meas Pheakdey said an estimated 550,000 people attended the celebrations on the first day, more than 1.5 million on day two and some three million people on the final day.
“I understand that specialists have put the total number of people at more than five million,” he said.