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Local trash disposal poor: study

Cintri workers shovel trash into a garbage truck in Phnom Penh last year.
Cintri workers shovel trash into a garbage truck in Phnom Penh last year. Heng Chivoan

Local trash disposal poor: study

Waste management services organised by local authorities are underfunded and poorly monitored, with a lack of skilled bureaucrats one of the biggest challenges to the sector, according to a report released yesterday.

The study, by the National League of Communes and Sangkats, looked into rubbish collection and disposal at the district and municipal level, a sector the national government has recently attempted to strengthen.

“We face challenges because we have just begun,” said the league’s secretary, Pok Sokundara, at a workshop yesterday.

“What we have found out is that we are facing a lack of human resources . . . Roles and responsibilities have not been properly allocated to ensure implementation.”

Based on questionnaires answered by Cambodia’s 26 municipal authorities – including Phnom Penh – and 10 district authorities, the report found 25 of the respondents received no funding from the provincial or national levels, or from NGOs.

The use of waste management guidelines – which explain information about rubbish classification, bin distribution, waste collection schedules and official dumpsites – was exceedingly rare in the areas surveyed.

The authorities claimed insufficient human resources made it difficult to enforce breaches.

However, only 36 per cent of respondents had educated people in their area about waste management practices.

According to the study – supported by Germany’s Konrad Adenauer Stiftung – 72 per cent of authorities have their waste services controlled by a private company. However, oversight was lacking.

Only 17 per cent of the respondents said they monitored whether service providers were meeting standards.

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