Kep is on track to achieve open defecation-free (ODF) status by mid-June, with 98 per cent of households in the province having access to latrines currently.

According to the provincial information department, only 198 households, which accounts for two per cent of the population, still lack latrines.

In a recent follow-up meeting on Kep’s progress of achieving ODF, Chrun Theravath, secretary of state at the Ministry of Rural Development, expressed confidence in its ability to help all households acquire latrines, aiming to make it the sixth ODF province this year. With support from both the ministry and provincial leadership, Kep is committed to achieving this goal.

Highlighting the significance of eradicating open defecation, provincial governor Som Piseth emphasised the importance of maintaining cleanliness, especially in a popular tourist destination like Kep with its beautiful coastal areas.

Piseth said the provincial authorities have designated Kep as a luxury tourist destination, necessitating effective management of the province. He further explained that ODF status not only improves socio-economic conditions but also promotes hygiene and good health among the residents, preventing the spread of diseases.

Currently, Kep has achieved 98 per cent coverage of latrines across 18 villages, with only a few villages remaining without access to toilets. However, Piseth assured that the provincial administration will work diligently to declare Kep an ODF province during his mandate.

According to a report from the rural development ministry, the 198 households without latrines in Kep are classified into three types. The first comprises 15 households who can afford latrines but refuse to build them. The second consists of 76 poor families, while the last includes 85 households residing in informal settlements.