Some 1,350 Cambodian and Japanese nationals participated in a clean-up drive around the capital on Sunday. The event was jointly organised by the Ministry of Environment, the Phnom Penh Municipal Administration, and the Embassy of Japan.
Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra, who presided over the event, said the project signifies the long-term solidarity between Cambodia and Japan in promoting a clean environment.
Pheaktra said: “Today’s activity will remind people who recklessly throw garbage to participate in cleaning the city together. A clean city is the pride of a nation. It improves the well-being of citizens and promotes the beauty of the city, which is home to us all.”
The project’s value, Pheaktra said, lies on promoting environmental awareness, community development, health and well-being, and tourism.
He said the amount of waste produced daily in downtown areas is more than 10,000 tonnes and the amount of waste that Cambodia produces annually is almost four million tones.
Of this, 65 per cent is wet waste, 20 per cent plastics and more than 10 per cent solid waste. Only 20 per cent of the annual waste is recyclable, which means that 80 per cent of the remaining waste is disposed off at dumpsites and other public locations.
The capital produces 3,000 tonnes of waste daily while Preah Sihanouk and Siem Reap produce a daily amount of 700 and 400 tonnes, respectively.
Phnom Penh deputy governor Huot Hay said: “The event aimed to raise awareness of environmental protection for members of the community, and cooperation with public and private sectors dedicated to protecting the environment”.
Japanese ambassador Masahiro Mikami said the event was meaningful because it was the Japanese residents of Phnom Penh who initiated the idea, and subsequently received support from the Ministry of Environment and Phnom Penh Municipal Administration.
Mikami said: “We got really good results today but it does not end here. We must continue to make an effort every day to further our cause. I arrived in Cambodia three months ago and I am really happy to see how the Kingdom is progressing.
“Nevertheless, the issue of waste management remains one for the entire nation, so we must make efforts to resolve it together.”
Suzuki Cambodia production manager Uon Sam Aun, who led his 90 staff to participate in Sunday’s clean-up drive, said this was the second time his company was participating.
“Last year, there were only 800 participants but this year there were more than a thousand.
“We started collecting waste at 6:30am and walked from the Samdech Chuon Nat roundabout to the Royal Palace and along the riverbank at the Night Market,” Sam Aun said.