The Ministry of Environment imposed fines of more than $500,000 on Phoenix Industrial Co Ltd and ordered the company to relocate at least 10km from the Stung Sangke River in Battambang province.

The fines were the result of the company discharging toxic wastewater into the river.

In an August 10 letter – obtained by The Post on August 13 – Minister of Environment Say Samal described the company’s actions as having a negative impact on the area’s biodiversity, as well as the livelihoods of local residents.

The ministry required the company to move away from the area and pay fines of $93,560 for its direct impact on the environment, including fisheries and local water supply.

The company was fined an additional $375,000 for the indirect impact of its actions on public health.

These fines, totalling over $468,000, must be paid to the ministry’s Environment and Social Fund Committee before October 20.

Phoenix was also penalised 150 million riel ($37,500) for causing the death of many fish, intentionally releasing untreated wastewater into the river, non-compliance with the ministry’s order and for operating a business without an agreed feasibility report on social and environmental impacts.

This fine must be paid to the ministry via the One Window Service by September 20. In addition, the company was ordered to restore the environment around its premises by November 20.

“Should the company violate any of these rulings, the ministry will pursue further legal action through the courts,” said a ministry statement.

The Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation halted the operations of the facility on August 4, as it launched an investigation into allegations of polluting activities.

According to their registration at Ministry of Commerce, the company manufactures grain mill and starch products, along with pharmaceuticals, medicinal chemicals and some botanical items.

The industry ministry said this was the third time the company had released untreated wastewater into the Sangke River.

Kot Boran, director of the Battambang environment department, hailed the fines as a reminder for other businesses to be mindful of their obligations and the importance of following the law.

He called on all companies to respect the law, care for the public and avoid having a negative impact on the Kingdom’s natural resources.