The Ministry of Environment appealed to the public to use less plastic and go for alternatives instead as plastic waste pollution is a global concern and demands public cooperation.
In a Facebook post by the ministry on Sunday, its secretary of state and spokesman Neth Pheaktra said: “To reduce the use of plastic, the Royal Government of Cambodia has issued a sub-decree to manage its use, along with other legal frameworks and strategic plans.”
His appeal was made at a forum attended by about 200 youths from universities in Phnom Penh to raise environmental awareness and talk about the joint prevention of plastic pollution.
Chhoeurt Sokla, a Management and Natural Resource Development student from the University of Phnom Penh and a forum participant, expressed interest in learning about the government’s actions, policies and solutions to solve the plastic waste crisis.
“I have a policy that I apply in my daily activities. If the plastic items are necessary to me, I use the 4R policy – reduce, reuse, replace, or recycle – instead of throwing them away.
“Even though plastics are available for use today, I want them to be recycled in factories to reduce waste,” she said.
She said after the forum, she and her classmates stopped using plastic bottles and opted to buy refillable water containers instead.
From the initial production until 2014, 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic were produced globally. Of these, about 400 million tonnes were produced annually and only nine per cent is recycled, said the ministry’s post.
It said the Kingdom produced about four million tonnes of rubbish a year, of which 20 per cent is plastic waste.
Phnom Penh and the provinces of Preah Sihanouk, Siem Reap and Battambang produced the highest volume of rubbish daily, amounting to more than 3,000 tonnes, 700 tonnes, 380 tonnes and approximately 130 to 150 tonnes, respectively.
A campaign to raise environmental awareness was organised at the Boeung Chhouk market in Battambang province’s Battambang town on Monday.
The campaign promoted the use of environment-friendly baskets and encouraged the public to reduce the use of plastic bags to protect public health and well-being, preserve the environment, and maintain city aesthetics.
Ministry of Environment undersecretary of state Chea Sam Ang said plastic waste harms society, public health and the environment as it clogs drainage systems which cause floods during the rainy season, and mars the beauty of cities and towns.
“It also poses a risk to ecosystems, especially for aquatic biodiversity. Plastic bags contain toxic chemicals that pollute water and land. They do not dissolve easily and can also pose serious health consequences,” he said.
Pheaktra could not be reached for additional comment at press time.