The Ministry of Environment has announced that it will collaborate with Hungary to implement a pilot project to solve sewage system issues in towns in some provinces.
A representative for the Hungarian Embassy in Cambodia, Zoltan Gyorgy Horvath, met with the ministry’s secretary of state, Sao Sopheap, on Friday to discuss and review collaboration in managing sewage systems in the towns.
A Hungarian Embassy Facebook post said: “At the meeting, both sides discussed collaboration in managing sewage systems and preparing water treatment facilities.
“On instructions from Samdech Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom, the ministry and Hungary will collaborate to implement a pilot project to solve sewage issues in the towns of some provinces.”
Ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra could not provide details of the project on Monday, saying that specialist officials were still working on the plan.
Yong Kim Eng, the director of the NGO People’s Centre for Development and Peace, told The Post on Monday that sewage issues in towns remained a challenge in Cambodia. The biggest issue had stemmed from the drainage systems.
In the past, he said, the government focussed only on building roads and had not installed a sufficient number of drainage pipes. Lakes in some towns had been filled with soil. Hence, if a town has no lakes there would be no place for the water to flow to and eventually cause flooding.
He said in the provinces, a part of the sewage was accounted to the people, but it was mostly from factories. The authorities had failed to study it to know if the factory sewage had toxic substances harming health and the environment.
“The factories think only of profits. They don’t care about smelly environments that cause difficulties for others. As for the results of checks by the authorities, I don’t know how they check it.
“[The issue] remains the same. The authorities don’t solve many problems but they do well in some areas. The authorities allow the companies to solve the problems.
“The sub-level authorities are allowed to take part in solving the problems. Where there is a solution, it makes the environment less problematic,” Kim Eng said.
At the end of 2017, Hun Sen issued a sub-decree on the management of sewage systems and the treatment of dirty water by instructing the relevant ministries, institutions and authorities to implement the management of sewage and dirty water systems downtown.
The prime minister also instructed the relevant authorities to effectively manage the sewage systems in the capital, provinces, towns, district and resort areas or established centres in Cambodia to ensure public safety and health.
In early November, Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) Cambodia Office representative Yuichi Sugano and Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth signed a grant agreement for 2,777 million yen ($27 million) to develop a sewage system in Phnom Penh.
Sewage treatment facilities will be constructed at the end of 2020 in the Boeung Choeung Ek area in Dangkor district’s Choeung Ek commune. The construction will take two months, according to Jica.
A press release from the Ministry of Economy and Finance in August said that last year, up to 25,000 cubic metres a day of sewage had been produced in Preah Sihanouk province.
It is predicted that this number would rise to 47,000 cubic metres a day in 2023 and it could continue to rise to 64,000 cubic metres a day in 2030. The problems need to be looked into to effectively and urgently upgrade the infrastructure system in the provinces.