The Ministry of Industry and Handicrafts has given a Kampong Thom ice factory four months to stop dumping waste water in the grounds of a neighbouring primary school, which the school’s principal hopes will bring to an end years of filth and unpleasant smells.
After visiting Steng Chinet Primary School in Baray district’s Balaing commune on Sunday, provincial director of industry and handicrafts Plok Chanratha said the ministry had been aware of the problem, but it had become worse.
“That is why we came to see it and to present them with a written notice that if they do not stop we will close the factory. We gave them four months to do something about the dirty waste water and the smell,” Chanratha said. “We recommended they do whatever is necessary to cut down the smell and the dirty water waste.”
He suggested the factory switch from wood to coal fuel to minimise the smell of its emissions and that a drainage pool be dug within the factory compound to deal with the waste water.
Principal Se Heak said yesterday that the dumping had been taking place for more than a decade.
“The factory has been releasing its waste gas and dirty water – which have a very bad smell – onto land belonging to the school for more than 10 years,” Heak said.
Factory manager Suy Sakun acknowledged yesterday that the factory released its waste onto the school grounds, but said the principal had given the owner – who was not reachable for comment – permission to do so.
Heak said that no such agreement had been made in his two years as principal and he could not recall an announcement of one by his predecessor.