Representatives of 51 families living in the capital’s Chbar Ampov district yesterday delivered a petition to Phnom Penh Municipal Hall calling on authorities to inspect a cement factory they fear may be dangerous and damaging to their health.
The Sambath Meancheng Concrete Company operates a sand-dredging and cement-mixing business in Veal Sbov commune’s Kdei Ta Koy village. Residents say the factory fills their home with sand and cement dust, and that its machinery keeps them awake at night, vibrating with such intensity that it causes nearby buildings to crack.
“Cement flies into the house and onto our clothes,” said Bu Phalla, one of the representatives who delivered the petition yesterday. “Sometimes they mix cement at 3 or 4 in the morning, and the vibrations of those huge machines crack the walls of our houses. In short, it is hard to live here.”
Another representative, Pu-on Thy, said that the commune and district authorities had previously ordered the factory to stop work, but that the company ignored them and ramped up its activities.
“The most scary thing is the high concrete wall the company put up,” said Thy. “Every time the cement is mixed, the vibrations of the machines cause the wall to crack. I worry that someday the concrete might fall onto playing children. That’s why I’m requesting Phnom Penh Municipal Hall to inspect the company to see whether it’s running its business properly or not. They can do what they want so long as it does not bother people living nearby. The important things are the dirt and the noise.”
However, Bun Channa, a manager with Sambath Meancheng Concrete, yesterday maintained that the impact of the factory’s activities on local residents’ lives was minimal, adding that the company is usually willing to compromise with residents.
“We are looking at preventative measures, like [repairing] the concrete wall, spraying water to keep dirt down, and have previously paid tens of thousands of dollars in compensation when people’s houses are damaged. We’re looking for a solution,” said Channa.
A City Hall official identifying himself only as Sophorn said he received the petition yesterday and would pass it on to his superiors today.