Officails and youths working on environmental issues continued to call on all citizens to take part in reducing the use of plastic, as well as to properly dispose of used waste in order to participate in preserving the environment and promoting public welfare.

The calls were issued at the March 12 Eco Carnival event initiated by the Creal Cambodian Youth Volunteer Group, with the support of the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Tourism, Phnom Penh City Hall, plastic waste management projects and other sponsors in a bid to connect love for the environment and promote products that support the environment.

Ministry of Environment secretary of state Neth Pheaktra, who presided over the event, said managing and reducing the use of plastics is the duty of all citizens. They should try to be environmentally friendly in their daily lives and adhere to the 4R Principles – by reducing the use of plastic products, reusing, recycling and refusing to use plastic, especially disposable products.

“The environment ministry highly appreciates the efforts of the Creal Cambodian Youth Volunteers group. They have joined the government in driving the implementation of environmental friendliness in society and contribute to solving plastic problems, which is currently a common concern of the world, by educating the public about the effects of plastic pollution on public health and the environment. They have also put solutions in place that reduce plastic waste,” he added.

Pheaktra said that since the creation of plastic, at least 8 billion tonnes of plastic waste has been left on the planet, as the world continues to consume as many as 600 million tonnes of plastic per year. In Cambodia, at least 20 per cent of waste is plastic.

“This requires Cambodia, as well as the rest of the world, to consider measures that will prevent and reduce the use of plastic products,” he added.

“The Eco Carnival by the Creal Cambodian Youth Volunteers group is having an effect on changing the attitude of the public – especially the youth – to plastic waste, an encourages them to participate in cleaning up the environment. I congratulate them,” he continued.

Kim Seth, director-general of the Phnom Penh Solid Waste Management Authority, said the Eco Carnival promotes love for the environment and reduces plastic use. The programme is being organised as the Kingdom prepares to host the 2023 SEA Games and ASEAN Para Games under the slogan “Sport: Live in Peace”. The games aim to not just promote physical activity, but also clean, green living.

“We believe this programme will enhance the participation of the public in cleaning up the environment ahead of this important event,” he added.

Hour Chhai Ngorn, founder of Creal Cambodia, said the Eco Carnival aims to create memories of love for the environment, raise the value of environmentally-friendly products and make the public understand that cleaning up is a job for everyone.

“The event also features exhibitions and entertainment,” he added.

Phnom Penh deputy governor Huot Hay said the occasion is closely linked to increasing public awareness of environmental activities.

“It is not just about fun activities, but also teaches the public about the importance of correct waste management. People should reduce their use of plastic, should sort their garbage, and should not dump waste in open spaces. In this way, we will make the city clean, green and beautiful so everyone can enjoy it,” he added.

“I believe that the spirit of this campaign will inspire young people to take practical action in caring for our environment,” he continued.

He warned that as the population of Phnom Penh grows day by day, more than 3,000 tonnes of solid waste is generated every day.

“This is a major concern for the Phnom Penh administration. To make sure the capital retains its beauty, we need the equal participation of everyone, young and old,” he concluded.