The Ministry of Environment has chosen Battambang as the first province to launch its plastic reduction campaign, to be followed by Siem Reap and Preah Sihanouk.
Ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra told The Post on Wednesday that the ministry has seen improvements in waste management and aims to promote public participation in the reduction of plastic use.
“The ministry encourages people to take part in reducing plastic waste through the ‘3Rs’ principle – reduce, reuse and recycle – and instead use environmentally friendly bags or multi-use bags. We also encourage the public to reuse waste in order to reduce piles of rubbish at dump sites because recycling rubbish also provides economic benefits,” he said.
Speaking at a ceremony to launch the Plastic Reduction and Promotion of Environmentally Friendly Bags campaign in Battambang province on Tuesday, Ngin Lina, director-general of the ministry’s Environmental Knowledge and Information Department, said plastic waste presents a major threat to the environment, public health, the appearance of urban areas and the country’s image as a whole.
“This is a crucial event to urge people everywhere, especially residents living in Battambang provincial towns, to learn about the impact of plastic on the environment and participate in its reduction. We aim to reduce the import, production, distribution and the use of plastic for the sake of public health, the environment and the appearance of urban areas,” she said.
Battambang provincial deputy governor Uy Sotheavy said during the official launch that the campaign aimed to boost public awareness of the impact of plastic waste on the environment.
“The campaign is part of efforts to implement the government’s sub-decree on the management of plastic waste. On a voluntary basis, we urge vendors to stop providing free plastic bags to customers in order to support people who produce non-plastic bags and thereby boosting their living standards,” he said.
Ministry spokesman Pheaktra said the campaign has also been scheduled to launch in Siem Reap and Preah Sihanouk provinces.
He said an estimate of solid waste in urban areas throughout the country put the amount produced at more than 10,000 tonnes a day. In Phnom Penh, approximately 3,000 tonnes of solid waste was produced a day, while Sihanoukville produced between 600 and 650 tonnes, and Siem Reap province between 350 and 400 tonnes.
“At present, the management of solid waste in urban areas across the country is better than it was before, but it has not yet responded to the increasing amount of solid waste which accumulates every day. More need to be done to improve the collection, transportation and management of solid waste,” he said.
To address the issue, the ministry’s secretary of state Sao Sopheap on Monday witnessed the signing ceremony of an agreement on “Creating a Business Model for a Sustainable Supply Chain for Recyclable Waste in Battambang” between the Global Green Development Institute (GGGI) and the UN Industrial Development Organisation (Unido).
With a focus on plastic and organic waste, the technical cooperation agreement aims to reach a common goal, with GGGI to improve the business model for the sustainable reuse of waste and Unido set to improve the infrastructure needed for the purpose.
Based on the agreement, GGGI is to conduct studies and research, while Unido will launch public-awareness campaigns in Battambang city. Unido is to execute large-scale projects initiated by GGGI, which include the splitting of recyclable waste at households.