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Capital waste collection set for price hike

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Cintri workers collect garbage along Street 302 in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district. Heng Chivoan

Capital waste collection set for price hike

The capital’s residents will be paying more than double for their rubbish collection after Phnom Penh Municipal Hall announced price hikes for customers of the city’s waste disposal contractor Cintri.

A Cintri manager said the new prices will be included in electricity bills for April.

The regular price for an average household has more than doubled to 10,600 riel ($2.65) from 4,000 riel, according to a Phnom Penh Municipal Hall announcement.

Dated February 26 and published by the Phnom Penh authority last month, it said the new prices for household waste management services across the capital became effective on April 1.

The new price list states that a standard ground floor apartment will be charged 10,600 riel, while first-floor apartments will have to pay 7,600 riel.

The new price for a detached house is 14,100 riel, with residences on plots of land up to 300sqm charged 31,000 riel. Properties on 300sqm to 600sqm will be charged 60,400 riel.

The authority listed prices for households, enterprises, factories, businesses and service providers in an eight-page document.

“The Phnom Penh administration would like to inform that with population growth and the economic boom in Phnom Penh, the amount of waste also increases. This is the challenge the Phnom Penh administration faces, and we need to solve it properly, including the need to strengthen cleaning, collection and dumping services,” the announcement said.

The authority said the decision to increase prices was based on a prakas issued by the ministries of Economy and Finance, Interior, Environment last June, one that detailed the maximum prices for the service in all areas.

Phnom Penh Municipal Hall spokesperson Met Meas Pheakdey said the authority was not responsible for setting the new prices but was following the decision of the ministries.

Ith Chenda, a manager at waste collection company Cintri, also said the new prices came from the ministries.

“The price of $1 was set in 1996. If we make a comparison of one dollar towards our expenses, it is a very small amount. That’s why the ministries issued a list of maximum prices for the Phnom Penh municipality to follow."

“The municipality can decide to implement the new prices, but not above the maximum price set. So we have revised the price from one dollar to more than two dollars,” Chenda said.

Social media users reacted to the price hikes by slamming Cintri over their “irregular” service.

“Most Phnom Penh residents pay regularly for their waste collection service, but the service is irregular. Sometimes [they come] in three days, one week, or up to two weeks. When the price increases, will the service be better?

“How many days will they come to collect the waste? I am a resident of O’Bek Ka’am [commune in Sen Sok district],” Phan Phearith said on the Phnom Penh municipality’s Facebook page.

“The price should not be increased like this. For example, the current price for a twin villa is 12,000 riel and the new price is 25,000 – this means an increase of over 100 per cent. It is not reasonable because the top increase in GDP is around seven per cent,” said another Facebook user, Nou Sovann.

‘Will services improve?’

Kon Zuk said the rise from 4,000 to 10,600 riel was equal to a 265 per cent increase. “Will the waste collection be better or will only the price increase and the collection remain the same?” he asked.

Cintri’s Chenda said his company would improve its waste collection service as urged by Phnom Penh municipality.

“We can improve our waste collection services when the fee collecting mechanism is more sustainable than we had before. In the past, the one-dollar fee was very little."

“It was hard to support our work, meaning that when we received a dollar, our service was not good accordingly. When the new prices were set, the Phnom Penh municipality pressed Cintri to improve it services too,” Chenda said.

Isaac Daniels, the programme adviser for Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT), an NGO providing pro-poor technical assistance for housing and infrastructure in urban areas, said when the prices increased, it would lead to more frustration from urban poor residents who were already struggling to engage with Cintri and the government to receive the service.

“Cintri and the government should make clearer the responsibilities of the authorities, Cintri and the residents of Phnom Penh. Everybody wants the waste issue to be solved, but it is ultimately the responsibility of the government to lead this process,” he said.

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