Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Municipality prepares to move cremations outside the capital

Municipality prepares to move cremations outside the capital

Municipality prepares to move cremations outside the capital

090312_05.jpg
090312_05.jpg

Plan to shut the capital's crematoria for air quality and traffic

control reasons will be implemented on a voluntary basis, official

says.

Photo by:
HENG CHIVOAN

The soon-to-be-defunct crematorium at  Wat Preah Puth was still operating on Wednesday.  

THE Phnom Penh Municipality has decided to shut the capital's crematoria and move cremations outside the city, citing air quality and traffic-control reasons. Mann Chhoeun, the city's deputy governor, said the plan had been in the making for several years, but the authorities had decided to implement it step by step and on a voluntary basis.

"Now our plans are in place, but we aren't yet forcing people to comply. We would rather wait until they understand the effect cremations have on their environment," he said. "So in the longer term, they will understand the effects and move their cremations outside the city."

He added: "When they cremate a body at Tuol Tumpong pagoda, for example, black smoke drifts into the classrooms and market."

The authorities originally announced in 2004 that they had decided to close the city's cremation facilities. They have since installed four 28-tonne electric cremation ovens costing more than US$100,000 each at Wat Russei Saagn in Dangkor district. The ovens will be operational in the next few months.

Phou Chhiv Neath, the secretary for Non Nget, supreme patriarch of the Mohanikaya Buddhist order, said monks understood the environmental reasons and supported the move.

"In the past we were able to cremate in the city because there weren't many people and we didn't have high-rise buildings as we do today," Phou Chhiv Neath explained. "But now there are many more people and much taller buildings, and some of the crematoria are not modern, so it does have an effect on the environment."

Plan long in the making

Deab Sinoeun, an elder at Wat Ounalom, said he had heard of the Municipality's plan some years ago but was not aware that a deadline had been set.

"So we are still cremating people at our pagoda, but we will respect the authorities if we receive an order to close," he said. "Having cremation facilities in the city makes it easier and quicker for people to take part in the ceremony."

"People trying to attend cremations outside the city will have to endure traffic jams, and it will cost them more, too, since the site will be far from where people live," Deab Sinoeun said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Twenty years after Pol Pot died a broken man, his memory looms large

    Two decades have passed, but Mea Chron still stands by Pol Pot. Most days he also stands by the mass murderer’s cremation site, keeping guard in the Khmer Rouge’s last stronghold of Anlong Veng. Pol Pot, the widely reviled despot who spearheaded the

  • Reuters: US Embassy fired 32 staff members for sharing pornography

    The United States Embassy in Phnom Penh has fired 32 non-diplomatic staff members who were allegedly caught exchanging pornographic images and video, including of minors, according to the news agency Reuters. Four sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the content was shared in

  • ‘Trouble’ foreseen in Khmer New Year almanac

    At 9:12am on Saturday, Cambodia’s devout can expect the arrival of Moha Thorathevey, an angel on a peacock holding a trident in one hand and an auspicious serrated wheel in the other. The angel, who has a liking for water hyacinths, will usher in

  • Our 2018 guide to spending Khmer New Year in Phnom Penh

    Khmer New Year festivities are upon us. For the next few days, travellers will be making their way to their home provinces to eat, celebrate, play traditional games and visit a pagoda with offerings. If you will be staying put in Phnom Penh for the