Cambodia generates 10,000 tonnes of waste each day, with Phnom Penh producing 2,000 to 3,000 tonnes – 600 of which is hazardous plastic waste, said Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS).
To mitigate the damage to public health and diminish the environmental fallout, KAS has organised The Cambodia Waste Summit 2019.
“More than 300 participants have registered for the event and more than 25 exhibitors partake . . . the goal is to create a dialogue that encourages partnerships between public and private sector problem-solvers, investors and other relevant actors in the industry,” a KAS press release said.
Phnom Penh Municipal Hall’s Waste Management and Environment managing director Nuon Samnavuth said at the summit that he hoped that attendees would view the Kingdom’s waste problem as an investment opportunity.
He said: “Over the years, more than 50 companies have shown interest in investing in Cambodia’s waste sector, but when they meet us, they show us techniques that we have already studied.
“They think there is nothing to be gained because the [rate] of electricity is cheap and Electricite du Cambodge [EdC] cannot afford to buy electricity at an expensive price, so they withdraw their bids.”
Eurocham Cambodia business services manager Tom Hesketh said: “Obviously Cambodia should actively launch a campaign for the effective management of rubbish.
“Waste management had been characterised by citizens’ [poor] awareness, the lack of proper waste collection, treatment facilities, technical and trained staff and effective management policies alike.”
Waste management company Cintri’s representative Hieb Sokunthea said waste management was quickly becoming a critical issue for Cambodia due to its strong economic growth, rapid urbanisation and emergence of a middle class.
“I would like to urge people to dispose of rubbish properly. Plastic bottles, household rubbish, and recyclable rubbish are to be disposed of separately to make it easier for Cintri employees to collect them,” he said.
KAS country director Daniel Schmucking said waste management concerned all Cambodians and a solution would help benefit society as a whole.
“I hope we can contribute to the development of a successful cooperation between the public and private sectors on water management. We have the opportunities to get the work done,” he said.