Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Factory waste blamed for health, crop woes

Factory waste blamed for health, crop woes

Factory waste blamed for health, crop woes

Forty families in Kampong Chhnang province’s Peani commune complained yesterday that a local factory has been polluting their land with toxic liquid waste.

Kong Yom, 40, a representative of the 40 families in Krang Ta Ekh village, said yesterday that this is not the first time villagers have complained that weaving factory The Best Season is destroying their land.

“We have asked the local authorities many times already to intervene, but this factory keeps releasing its waste into our rice fields. Now, 50 hectares of rice fields have been destroyed because of the waste,” Yom said.

One of the villagers, 29-year-old Oeurn Nit, said that during the dry season, locals depend on the Krang Ta Ekh river as a source of clean water. But, he claims, pollution from the factory has put a stop to this.

“We do not know what the chemical substances are, but it turns the water a dark colour and [makes it] stink.… The villagers’ skin will be itchy after they use [it],” Nit explained.

Village elder Rith Soth said the factory has been secretly releasing toxic liquid waste into the rice fields and river for a number of years, “but the factory has not been fined or punished by the authorities at all”.

Taim Saroeurn, Kampong Tralach deputy district governor, told the Post that in 2013 the Environment Ministry issued a warning letter, threatening to temporarily stop production at the factory if measures were not taken to stop the waste infecting the surrounding area.

After receiving the letter, the factory made improvements, which included plans to build a stronger reservoir to store the toxic liquid and filters to treat it, Saroeurn said.

“For this new case, I do not know clearly yet, but I will send our officials to cooperate with the experts at the provincial environment department to inspect the site soon,” he said, adding that if the villagers’ claims are proven true, he would temporarily stop operations at the factory.

Tut Sokunteara, a manager at The Best Season, denied intentionally leaking the waste, but said it might have come through cracks in reservoirs.

“We accept that there are some technical points that we have not improved yet, but we can improve it again,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,