Despite the growth of Sihanoukville through its booming construction sector and its rapid development of urban infrastructure, problems related to garbage and solid waste management remain a challenge for the beachside tourist town.

On November 3, the Preah Sihanouk provincial administration held a meeting to present a framework for implementing a new urban solid waste management system and to establish 50 ha for use as a new landfill site.

Preah Sihanouk provincial governor Kuoch Chamroeun said at the meeting that in order to solve the problems of waste management and solid waste for Sihanoukville they had developed a new strategy that would deal with waste quickly and sustainably.

“We’ve reached the point of crisis with this problem in Sihanoukville. Although rubbish collection companies pick up and haul away the garbage from our town, it continues to be disposed of and littered about in an untidy way.

“The problem is that there are no technical standards being enforced and garbage is collected from the town and then dumped in unsuitable places in total defiance of all proper waste management techniques,” he said.

He added that Preah Sihanouk province had now established a new landfill in Prey Nop district with orders given to the waste management companies to dump all garbage there.

“We agreed to manage the landfill and I asked the Ministry of Environment to set up a waste management company to help Cambodia learn to manage its landfills more effectively,” he said. “We need to set up a budget mechanism to finance these upgrades to garbage and solid waste management in Preah Sihanouk province.”

Chamroeun added his administration initially attempted to dissuade people from illegal dumping by posting signs that included a warning about fines from 20,000 riel to 400,000 riel imposed on anyone who improperly disposed of garbage on the beaches or public roads.

“Because we cannot clean up the environment everywhere, only in the middle of town, on public streets in other communes there is garbage scattered all over,” Chamroeun said.

Undersecretary of state at the environment ministry Heng Nareth said the government laid out policies to improve waste management and increase the cost-effectiveness of the system and these policies represented the will, commitment and ownership necessary to ensure the building of capacity in this sector and bring about an era of bold new achievements in garbage and solid waste management.

“We have to ensure sustainable efficiency with the participation of companies, authorities and citizens so that our town will be clean and green. Private companies have a role in the implementation of waste management policy by collecting garbage from the towns and districts,” he said.

He added that the garbage problem also required educating people so that they will have a deeper understanding of waste management and he asked the people to sort their garbage properly into “wet” and “dry” bags.

Deputy governor of Preah Sihanouk province Long Dimanche said that the landfill in Prey Nop district covered 50 ha but the first phase of construction would only take up 17 ha of the area.

He added that the landfill will be officially opened and garbage can be transported and dumped there from November 5, 2021.