The River Ocean Cleanup (ROC) has cooperated with local authorities to collect about 350 tonnes of rubbish from sewage canals in the capital’s Meanchey district. It issued an appeal to the residents of the district to stop disposing of rubbish into the canals.

ROC executive director Nou Sovann said on January 9 that agents from the organisation started cleaning up on January 6 and will continue cleaning up the canals in the area. Their work is being carried out in collaboration with excavators from the Department of Public Works and Transport, Meanchey authorities and waste collection firm Cintri, to remove waste from the sewage system.

“Approximately 300-350 tonnes of waste will be removed in a few weeks. We need citizens to join us and stop polluting the wastewater system. Geographically, most of the garbage is downstream from the Russian Hospital area, which is full of e-commerce businesses. Many business owners throw their trash into the canal rather than disposing of it correctly,” he added.

He appealed to residents to not throw trash into the canals, as this harms the environment.

Men Sokken, director of the public works department’s Drainage and Pumping Unit, said the participation of the cleanup team would help the authorities reduce flooding.

He added that when garbage was thrown into canals or drains, it clogged them up, sometimes leading to flooding.

“When residents dispose of their garbage like this, it blocks the drains that prevent their own homes and businesses from flooding. If they join us in removing the built-up waste and start to dispose of it correctly, I believe that flooding in their neighbourhoods will be reduced,” he continued.

Men Sokken said his unit cleared the drains and canals near each pumping station once every three months.

“I don’t have exact figures of how much waste we remove each time, but I can say that it increases every time,” he added.

The drainage canals play an important part in releasing water and preventing flooding during the rainy season.

Sokken said that if residents want to see less flooding next rainy season, they should encourage one another to dispose of their garbage correctly.