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Banlung lakes subject to dumping, locals say

Banlung lakes subject to dumping, locals say

Residents say wastewater is polluting a pair of Ratanakkiri's lakes, worrying many locals.

TRASH, human excrement, chemicals and medical waste are pouring into Boeung Kangseng lake and Boeung Kamsan lake, residents and a rights group from Ratanakkiri's Banlung district have told the Post.

"We are concerned that the lake is not being carefully taken care of by the authorities," said Kong Yuthanear, a local resident who blamed houses surrounding the lake for the pollution.

"The authorities should take action and move those houses around the lake to another place at a fair compensation to take care of people's health," he said. "Hundreds of families from Banlung town drink purified water from the lake."

Pen Bonnar, the Adhoc provincial coordinator for Ratanakkiri, said the effects of the pollution on the health of the villagers might not be obvious immediately. But in a few years, he said, health problems will emerge.

"We are completely concerned about the pollution level of the lakes, which could severely damage people's health," he said.

He added that the pollution did not just come from the handful of houses abutting the lakes but also from nearby hotels, hospitals and apartments that lack sanitation and sewage systems.

"The waste will go directly to the lakes from the hotels, hospitals and houses, which lack all sanitation, and the purification of the water does not kill all the diseases," he said.

The Banlung town governor, Ly Vin, said he worried about water pollution, and that he planned to move four or five houses away from the lake. But he said that wastewater was not "flowing into the lakes" even though the city lacked a modern sewage system.

The director of the Ratanakkiri environment department declined to comment.

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