State institutions and development partners are gathering input on strategies for the efficient management of marine debris, especially plastic waste, in the tourist destinations of the Kingdom’s coastline.

The Ministry of Tourism sought to address the issue in a recent meeting held in the coastal province of Preah Sihanouk. The consultative meeting was presided over by ministry secretary of state Ny Phally and attended by provincial deputy governor Long Dimanche as well as representatives from relevant state institutions and several organisations working in the fields of marine conservation and waste management.

The need for effective waste management was highlighted by Prime Minister Hun Sen, who recently expressed his desire to ensure that the beauty of the environment and rich biodiversity of the Kingdom’s coastline match its standing as member of the UNESCO-supported World-Bays Club.

Phally thanked local authorities and the managers of each organisation that had attempted to keep the waters, beaches and mangroves of Cambodia pristine.

Dimanche said the meeting attendees agreed that resolving the problem of marine debris is not the exclusive obligation of any one institution, which is why widespread participation is so important.

“We need contributions from all parties, including the state, private sector, local communities and development partners,” he added.

The input and suggestions from the various attendees were compiled and will form the basis of a roadmap of future action plans.

An environment ministry report said plastic waste in Cambodia has increased along with the population.

“As people’s livelihoods improve, their consumption of processed foods, which are often packaged in plastic, also increases. A lack of education about rubbish sorting and disposal best practices remains a barrier,” it said.

“Plastic pollution affects the ecosystems of the sea, rivers and lakes. Biodiversity and public health also suffer. Most of the garbage found in our oceans now is plastic waste,” it added.