The Ministry of Public Works and Transport and Pursat provincial authorities plan to open a new landfill facility in Pursat town early next year. It is hoped it will beautify the town and reduce the risk of infectious diseases within the urban population.
Pursat town deputy governor Bung Tainglay told The Post that construction of the new landfill and solid waste management site – in Roleab commune’s Tuol Makak village – has been completed. It was begun in 2020 by Ung Sim Sia Co., Ltd, with the more than $1.67 million of the budget provided by the government.
“The landfill has the capacity to store up to 140,000m3 of solid waste and will meet the needs of the town for 15 years – or longer if the private sector invests in recycling organist waste into compost,” he said.
According to Tainglay, the new site was built to the highest international standards and includes warehousing, wastewater treatment facilities, as well as administrative and accommodation buildings for the staff. The site has been decorated with freshly planted trees, and is fenced off to prevent animals from entering it.
“The new landfill will improve hygiene in the town and provide a cleaner, more comfortable environment. Not only that, it will create jobs for the people living nearby,” he said.
Tainglay added that town authorities currently cooperate with environmental youth activists, and collect 40-50 tonnes of solid waste per day. The rubbish is transported by six garbage trucks to the site of the old landfill, which covers one hectare. The new site covers 15ha.
Bit Bunlong, the leader of Youth for Environment, which the people of Pursat town know as the only rubbish collection operator in town, told The Post that because the small area of the current landfill didn’t comply with standards, it had led to rubbish overflowing on to the farmland of people living nearby. This rendered their land unusable and presented a public health hazard.
“Now, the new landfill is almost ready for use. It will make a big difference in solving many of our challenges,” he said.
According to Bunlong, most residents still lack an understanding of how to separate and pack rubbish correctly, with some even disposing of their trash in public spaces. Solving this issue will require widespread public education campaigns by civil society organisations, partners and the private sector.
“Currently, most local people do not separate their waste. Sometimes, our team has even discovered medical waste mixed in with ordinary kitchen scraps,” he said.
At the same time, just 6,500 of the town’s 17,000 families made a paid contribution towards garbage disposal.
Jyotsana Varma, Asian Development Bank (ADB) country director, expressed her optimism for the project while inspecting the landfill on November 24.
“I hope this facility will be used for the benefit of the public in a sustainable and efficient manner,” she said.
In order to encourage the participation of local communities and the private sector, she hoped that rubbish and organic waste that would be collected and transported to the new landfill could be recycled into compost for improving the soil quality of agricultural land, while plastic waste could be easily turned into consumable products.
The new landfill is one of the achievements of the $53 million project in improving urban environments to better manage services around the Tonle Sap Lake. It is supported by the ADB and the Climate Strategy Fund, with contributions from the Cambodian government and the community itself.