Students participate in a ceremony to mark world WASH day, which aims to highlight the importance of clean water, sanitation and good hygiene
School children celebrate world WASH day on Wednesday in Phnom Penh.
ABOUT 1,000 villagers and primary school students in Russey Keo district's Tuol Sangke commune attended a ceremony Wednesday celebrating Phnom Penh's first Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) day.
WASH day emphasised the importance of washing hands in order to prevent the spread of disease.
Mann Chhoeun, deputy governor of Phnom Penh, and Katherine Crawford, director of USAID's office of Public Health and Education, led the morning ceremony by engaging in a hand-washing display, before about 20 school children who joined in, eager to scrub their palms.
Chiek Ang, deputy director of the municipality's Environmental Department, explained the message behind WASH day.
Stay clean, stay healthy
"People must care about sanitation before eating and after using the toilet by washing their hands," he said. "If our hands are not clean, we can easily get diarrhoea."
Chiek Ang said people around the world would celebrate with a global WASH day on October 15, as a continued celebration of the UN's International Year of Sanitation.
Tuol Sangke commune would become the model for 76 other communes in Phnom Penh by leading the way in improving sanitation and the environment, Chiek Ang said. Toul Sangke commune chief Soy Kosal said at the opening of the campaign that the local authorities were concerned about environmental conditions in the commune.
"Liquid and solid waste affects people's lives in the commune," he said, adding that a lack of education and responsibility had made people unhealthy.
USAID's Crawford said she hoped the day's event would be "the first in a series of events in Phnom Penh, which is joining with the world to mark the International Year of Sanitation".
Mann Chhoeun said there would be educational banners on five main national roads connecting to the city.
"Pictures and words in banners educate people to the importance of clean environments for good health," he said.
"People should pack waste in plastic and dispose of it correctly," he said.