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Environment Ministry to halt river dumping

Daun Penh district officials collect rubbish from the Tonle Sap river yesterday morning. Photo supplied
Daun Penh district officials collect rubbish from the Tonle Sap river yesterday morning. Photo supplied

Environment Ministry to halt river dumping

Environment Ministry spokesman Sao Sopheap said yesterday that residents of Derm Sleng village in Chbar Ampov would not be allowed to continue disposing of their trash into the Tonle Sap river, with his ministry asking City Hall officials to end the practice.

Yesterday, the Post reported that the village, which lacks regular municipal trash collection services, was using the river as its dumpsite, with garbage accumulating in a 12-by-10-metre pile along a riverbank before spilling down into the river’s waters.

A video showing workers sweeping Water Festival trash into the river had sparked public outrage only a day before, and Sopheap said yesterday that using the river as a dump was “unacceptable for the ministry”.

“This affects our water quality . . . and causes environmental problems,” Sopheap said, adding that Derm Sleng village would now not be allowed to dump in the river. “They cannot continue to do so.”

Dy Kiden, head of the Environment Ministry’s solid waste management department, said he had contacted the municipality’s waste management office and department of environment and had ordered them to take the lead in stopping the practice.

“Taking action is in their hands,” he said.

An official at the waste management office declined to comment yesterday, while Chheun Sothun, head of the environment department, said he sent someone to inspect the site and would reach out to Cintri, which is contracted by the city to collect trash, to try to solve the issue.

“Sometimes Cintri does not listen,” he said.

Yet he downplayed the issue, saying that much of the trash had accumulated because garbage collectors had not been working in the area during the Water Festival holiday, even though residents told the Post they had been throwing trash into the water for years.

Chhoun Cheoun, an official at Cintri for Chbar Ampov, acknowledged the company’s garbage collectors sometimes do not do their rounds in Derm Sleng because the roads are not accessible. “I will discuss with my superior on how to deal with it,” he said.

Meanwhile, two days after the video footage of workers sweeping Water Festival trash into the Tonle Sap emerged, Daun Penh District Governor Kouch Chamroeun yesterday led about 50 people to clean up garbage along the river, starting at Chaktomuk Hall.

“We rented two boats,” he said. “We cleaned the garbage at the riverbank and most of it was plastic.”

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