A Phnom Penh resident was among the six winners of a green campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of disposing plastic waste in the river as the Mekong River Commission (MRC) on Friday commemorated the 24th anniversary of the signing of the agreement that led to its creation.
A ceremony was held in Lao capital Vientiane to commemorate the anniversary of the signing of the Agreement on the Cooperation for the Sustainable Development of the Mekong River Basin by Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam in 1995.
Some 100 people including Lao government and embassy officials, and MRC development partners and staff attended the event.
MRC communications officer Meas Sopheak told The Post that the body had created the campaign to allow Facebook users wherever they were to post pictures and video clips related to protecting the environment.
The six winners were selected from 85 people who had posted their environmental action as part of the “Let’s Act Green for a Greener Mekong” campaign.
“We hope this campaign will have created awareness and change people’s behaviour regarding the use of plastic. For example, we discourage people from using plastic bags when they go shopping or to a minimart. And when they buy coffee, we encourage them to use a coffee mug or glass."
“We discourage the use of plastics. For example, there are a large number of coffee shops that now use glass. If needed, plastic straws should not be used, instead, use steel or bamboo ones,” Sopheak said.
Four Laotians and a Filipino living in the country were among the winners, as was a Philippine national residing in Cambodia. Each was awarded $50 and a certificate of recognition.
Their photos and videos not only showcased environmental protection but also encouraged others to take part in protecting the Mekong and the environment from plastic waste, the MRC said on Friday.
Ramon Macaraig, the Filipino winner living in the Kingdom, told The Post on Sunday that he took part in the campaign to help keep Phnom Penh’s riverside area clean, raise awareness of the issue and encourage people to protect the environment in simple ways.
Macaraig posted photographs of himself and colleagues collecting rubbish and cleaning up the bank of the Mekong in front of the Royal Palace.
“Everyone has a responsibility to the environment and we can help by simply throwing our garbage in the trash can and educating and influencing the younger generations.
“We can also help sustain our environment through the ‘3 Rs’ – reduce, reuse and recycle,” he said.
“I’ve seen, through the many photos and video clips, how much people care for the Mekong and how crucial it is to work together for a healthier river,” said Dr An Pich Hatda, the Cambodian CEO of the MRC.
He said the MRC has promoted environmental protection through its work on water quality monitoring, environmental assessment and strategic development of the Mekong River basin.
The campaign was held from March 4 to 29.