Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Dumping in river continues

Dumping in river continues

A man looks over a large pile of rubbish that has been dumped along the bank of the Bassac River in Phnom Penh’s Chbar Ampov district in Phnom Penh yesterday.
A man looks over a large pile of rubbish that has been dumped along the bank of the Bassac River in Phnom Penh’s Chbar Ampov district in Phnom Penh yesterday. Heng Chivoan

Dumping in river continues

Nearly a month after the Ministry of Environment asked Phnom Penh City Hall to stop villagers in Chbar Ampov district from disposing their trash in the Tonle Sap river, residents yesterday said no one had yet come to clean the area or end the practice.

Yors Run, who only moved into a house in Derm Sleng village three days ago, said he took the matter into his own hands yesterday by instructing a neighbour who owns a tractor to push the rubbish down toward the river because the smell was “very bad”.

Part of the riverside dump area, which had until then been covered with a 12-by-10-metre pile of steaming rubbish, was cleared, but the trash ended up instead spilling down directly into the river.

In the middle of the recently cleared area stood a sign bearing the names of the Interior Ministry and Environment Ministry. It informs illegal dumpers that leaving trash at the site would lead to a fine of up to $25 – if they are ever caught.

Residents said the sign was installed by the authorities a year ago but had collapsed. Run, the new resident and a former low-level military official, had changed that. “When the rubbish was cleared, I mended the sign so people won’t pour rubbish again,” he said.

Chhoun Srey Leak, a 22-year-old resident of Derm Sleng, said that no officials have yet come to inspect the site or to tell villagers to halt the practice of disposing trash into the river. Villagers were still using the river as a dumping site as of yesterday, she said, adding that residents feel neglected by the municipality because it had failed to provide the village with any trash collection services.

“They just don’t care about it because it has been there for so many years,” the resident said of the rotting trash. “It is a necessity that the Ministry of Environment take action, because we need the water . . . and when we throw the trash into the water it becomes very dirty and we cannot use it.”

Phnom Penh Waste Management Office official Noun Samnavuth declined to comment yesterday. Chheun Sothun, deputy chief of Phnom Penh’s environment department, claimed his officials had in fact worked with the city’s trash collection firm, Cintri, to remove garbage from the riverbank.

Yet Cintri manager Ith Chenda acknowledged no one had yet gone to clean up the site, and blamed a lack of proper roads and infrastructure in the Derm Sleng area. “We did not go to collect [the trash],” he said. “So the trash is where it used to be.”

Sothun said Cintri and the district authorities had only on Wednesday signed a new trash collection schedule for the city but that Cintri’s rubbish trucks will still not reach the beleaguered area. Instead, they will inform residents of nearby trash dumping sites, he said.

He added that the commune would send officials to educate people not to throw their trash into the river. Environment Minister Say Samal said that his ministry’s officials were still discussing the issue and working with city officials to find a long-term sustainable solution.

“I think it’s better to work together rather than to point the finger,” the minister added.

MOST VIEWED

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    The Ministry of Health has issued a directive on the treatment of people who have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, following a suggestion from Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of January 21. The directive permits home quarantine for those who

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • Hun Sen gets 4th Covid shot, urges compatriots to follow

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany on January 14 received their fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine and called on compatriots to follow suit as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread in the community. This marks the launch of Cambodia's fourth-dose vaccination campaign,

  • Fourth dose Covid booster drive jabs 43K in two days

    In the first two days of the fourth-dose Covid-19 vaccination campaign, more than 43,000 people volunteered to get the jabs, while over 4.6 million people have received a third shot. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said that fourth-dose vaccinations, which began on January 14 exclusively with the Pfizer

  • Singapore backs Cambodia's efforts on Myanmar

    Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong supports Cambodia in its efforts to seek a solution to the ongoing Myanmar crisis as the chair of ASEAN. Lee expressed his support during a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen via videoconference on January 14, with the talks focused