Construction of another new waste transfer station is underway to the north of Phnom Penh while a 50ha area to the west in Kandal province’s Ang Snuol district is being planned as a new permanent landfill site as part of a strategy to address waste disposal problems in and around the capital.
A Phnom Penh Municipal Hall official who asked not to be named told The Post on February 17 that the latest landfill project was tentatively scheduled to begin operating in the next two years.
“In Phnom Penh, we are preparing a new waste transfer station in the Boeung Ta Mok lake area in addition to the existing station in Dangkor district,” he said, adding that the Dangkor facility would eventually be repurposed from a landfill to a transfer station.
“The latest landfill is planned to be built within the next two years on National Road 51. Construction has not yet begun as the plan is awaiting final approval from the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Ministry of Environment. It will take two years to complete a standard landfill there,” he said.
Keo Channarith, chairman of the Landfill Management Committee in Dangkor district, told The Post that there have been comprehensive changes to solid waste management policies in the capital.
He said the government’s plan called for the development of two waste transfer stations in conjunction with a permanent landfill site.
“We will have two waste transfer stations and the landfill which the government plans to create. For now, the landfill in Dangkor district is still operating and will be considered as the final destination for the waste for the next two years,” Channarith said.
“During the next two years, the government will prepare infrastructure to change the Dangkor landfill into a waste transfer station. This will be in conjunction with the other new station set to open to the north,” he said.
Channarith said the new planned landfill will receive all waste collected from the capital as well as Kandal province. Additionally, the site will be equipped to handle the processing of recyclable waste.
According to an environment ministry report, more than 10,000 tonnes of waste are created everyday in the country, amounting to nearly four million tonnes per year. Sixty-five per cent of the waste is organic material while 20 per cent is plastic, and the rest is solid and other waste.
In Phnom Penh alone, about 3,000 tonnes of waste are generated per day. For the first eight months of 2019, about 660,000 tonnes were collected in Phnom Penh, a pace exceeding 2018’s full-year collections of around 900,000 tonnes.
Affiliated Network for Social Accountability executive director San Chey applauded the project to build more landfill capacity.
Simply having a disposal site for rubbish, however, was not enough. He said the government needs to enforce dumping regulations more strictly to address improper disposal of waste in public places, particularly in canals and sewers.
“Waste disposal is a public mechanism, and authorities must urge waste collection firms to maintain best practices, for example, so that their trucks do not leak waste water and pollute the city with the smell. [Waste collection firm] Cintri used to be guilty of this.
“We need to work together to ensure the effectiveness of the entire system, from waste collection to transport and disposal,” he said.