The 2019 Clean Phnom Penh Campaign – a joint initiative of public and private institutions, civil societies and the Artists’ Association – was launched on Saturday at the new National Sports Training Centre in Olympic Stadium.
The campaign – which runs through November – was organised to seek a solution for the Kingdom’s waste management and to promote awareness on proper rubbish disposal among the public.
It is the third time the campaign has been organised and this year’s initiative has major action plans lined up to improve waste management in the capital.
Awareness education programmes are being held in public and private schools. Besides, educational messages on proper rubbish disposal in the form of short videos have been broadcast on the radio, social media and in theatres.
“The campaign has brought together relevant stakeholders to create one voice to achieve a shared purpose, which is to jointly seek a solution for proper rubbish disposal.
“It is hoped the campaign would attract the participation of every citizen in maintaining and improving the beauty of the city,” said its press release.
At the launch of the campaign, its founder who is also Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia president Hun Many urged youths to serve as campaign ambassadors.
He also said all citizens are responsible for environmental cleanliness.
“Cambodia is not alone in facing the rubbish problem. Some countries are tackling the same issue and some others took dozens of years to achieve substantial results.
“Education is vital as a long-term solution to the problem. If more of us volunteer to clean up the environment, we can solve the problem faster and with greater efficiency,” said Many who is also founder of the Clean Phnom Penh Campaign.
He stressed that the rubbish problem is not only for the government to deal with, but rather it is the responsibility of all citizens as it affects their wellbeing and future generations in the Kingdom.
The campaign is supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and the Ministry of Tourism, the National Committee for Clean City Assessment, and the Phnom Penh municipal administration.
Phnom Penh deputy governor Nuon Pharath said at the launch of the campaign that the city currently produces 3,000 tonnes of rubbish daily.
It is a huge challenge of the capital which has deteriorated drastically due to accumulating rubbish. Hence, he said it would take a collaborative effort and a longer time to resolve the problem.
“The key challenges for us are the collection, sorting and dumping of rubbish, as well as citizens’ awareness on the proper disposal of rubbish and the spirit of maintaining environmental hygiene,” said Pharath.
Clean Phnom Penh Campaign representative In Nabot said that more than 100 young people are taking part in the efforts. They are working with the Phnom Penh municipal administration to clean up Phnom Penh, especially during this week’s traditional Water Festival.
“Our volunteers will continue to carry out activities this month. They have started to share knowledge on the environmental and rubbish issue to students at more than 20 public and private schools.
“We also have headteachers and head students at each school to create other ideas for disseminating this knowledge to students,” he said.
On Saturday, more than 400 students from the Royal University of Phnom Penh with support from the United Nations Development Programme and the government of Sweden, implemented the “Campaign against plastics use and behavioural change toward the reduction of single-use plastics”.
The project consisted of various activities to raise awareness among youths on the environmental impact of plastics and promote behavioural change to reduce its use and consumption.
A press release of the campaign against the use of plastics stated that its global volume had recently reached 8.3 billion tonnes, which is the weight of around one billion elephants.
On the other hand, around 10 million plastic bags are used in Phnom Penh every day, said the Acra Foundation.
Fauna and Flora International said in a press release that on average 12 single-use plastic bags are used per household per day in Cambodia’s coastal communities and almost 50 per cent of waste is dumped into the sea.