Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Concerns over Koh Rong Samloem petrol station



Concerns over Koh Rong Samloem petrol station

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Tourists at Preah Sihanouk province’s Koh Rong Samloem. Supplied

Concerns over Koh Rong Samloem petrol station

Community representatives and civil society groups have hit out at plans for a petrol station on Preah Sihanouk province’s Koh Rong Samloem, expressing concern at the environmental impact the project will have on the tourist hotspot.

Sok Sokhom, director of the Cambodian National Research Organisation (CNRO), raised fears over oil spills impacting the environment after Preah Sihanouk Governor Yun Min gave the Oknha Tea Vichet-owned GTVC Import Co project in the island’s Koh Touch village the green light.

“The Preah Sihanouk administration must not allow the construction of a petrol station by the sea. [Governor Min] should reconsider the decision. If it is to be built, it should be on land far away from the beach in order to lessen the environmental impact.”

“If it is built by the sea, it will surely cause an impact. If there is an oil spill, it will flow directly into the sea. So the provincial administration should not allow this near the coast,” Sokhom said.

Sokhom added that the petrol station is to be built on a port planned for the island.

A letter released on February 20 by Min informed Vichet that Preah Sihanouk provincial administration had agreed in principle to his firm’s request to construct the station.

In the letter, the administration stressed that Vichet’s company had to respect and act on guidance given and prepare documents for the National Management Committee to review.

The environmental impact of the project must be evaluated before it can be authorised by the Ministry of Mines and Energy, it adds. There must also be cooperation between relevant local authorities and boundary parties.

Neang Sambun, a Koh Touch villagers representative, also expressed his concerns over the project. He said he feared for the livelihoods of those living in the area.

“I spoke of the impact on the area when they conducted a primary study on the construction of the station, but they didn’t listen. I told them of my fears, but these were not recorded. It seems like my opinions do not agree with those behind the construction of the petrol station.”

“This will impact the area greatly. The company’s owner only guarantees that petrol will be contained properly so as not to affect the environment. But if even a drop of oil falls in the sea, it spreads all over. I live by the sea, and if they construct the station poorly, it will affect the beach, tourists and us,” he said.

Sambun, who joined Preah Sihanouk working groups on a recent inspection of the area, added that the station is planned as part of a 200m by 30m port.

Chheun Chantha, commune chief of Koh Rong Samloem, told The Post on Tuesday that villagers had previously lodged complaints against the construction of the station, while he had filed a report at the provincial level

He said 132 families live permanently in the village, while 400 live there during tourist season. A total of 292 families live permanently in the district.

Samut Sothearith, director of the provincial environment department, said: “I have seen that the company is required to make a preliminary report and an environmental impact assessment [EIA] on the project for the whole area, to be put forward to the provincial department and the Ministry of Environment before a decision is made.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a

  • Cambodia ready to exit LDC status

    Cambodia is well-prepared to minimise economic risks when it graduates from its Least Developed Countries status, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Commerce on May 7. Four LDCs – Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh and Nepal – met at a virtual workshop last week to explore potential

  • Nine US franchises eye Cambodia debut

    Nine famous US franchising companies are looking for business opportunities and expansion into Cambodia to build a footstep for a strong foundation in Southeast Asia. The US embassy in Phnom Penh, in partnership with the US Foreign Commercial Service and with support from the American

  • Lost in translation: ‘Starvation’ in capital’s designated red zones

    “DACH bay” is a Khmer slang meaning a “loss of income”, that could also be literally translated to «deprived of rice”, which alludes to starvation. However, civil society organisation (CSO) officials have independently confirmed the government’s prior assertions that there are no cases of