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Monitoring of airport carbon footprints begins

A plane sits on the tarmac at Phnom Penh International Airport last year. Cambodia's airports have measured their carbon output under an accreditation plan aimed at reducing emissions.
A plane sits on the tarmac at Phnom Penh International Airport last year. Cambodia's airports have measured their carbon output under an accreditation plan aimed at reducing emissions. Heng Chivoan

Monitoring of airport carbon footprints begins

As airline passenger numbers in the country rocket, Cambodia has taken its first step toward greener air travel by earning the initial level of accreditation from a body that monitors the carbon footprint of airports.

Along with Phnom Penh, the airports in Siem Reap and Sihanoukville have been awarded level one status under the Airports Council International’s (ACI) four-stage carbon accreditation scheme.

The first level is reached once an airport has measured its carbon output.

“This is an achievement, because it is only by knowing our current situation that we can measure if future actions and investments actually help reduce our carbon emissions,” Norinda Khek, spokesman for Cambodia Airports, which runs the country’s airports, said yesterday.

Khek added that it had been necessary to measure CO2 emissions from the consumption of diesel, gasoline and electricity, which were the principal culprits when it came to carbon output.

To achieve the second level of accreditation, an airport must show it has begun cutting its own emissions, a step that does not involve airlines or outside firms.

“We had already taken a few initiatives, such as streamlining electricity use at the airports’ facilities, phasing out old vehicles and sorting of waste,” said Khek. “Starting from now, we are stepping these up, plus taking additional actions.”

The third level of accreditation is reached when airlines, catering and other businesses get involved. The fourth requires an airport to be carbon neutral.

According to Khek, eight airports in the Asia-Pacific region have reached the first level, 12 have made it to the second, seven to the third, but none have reached level four.

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