New Preah Sihanouk provincial governor Kuoch Chamroeun will launch a campaign to improve sanitation and keep the environment clean in Sihanoukville.
A one-day event has been scheduled for Saturday to conduct a major clean-up and stress the importance of the issue to civil servants, the private sector and residents, said provincial spokesperson Kheang Phearum.
He told The Post on Thursday: “We know that waste disposal is one of the biggest challenges facing us. The city currently produces 700 tonnes of rubbish a day. It used to be 400 tonnes a few years ago.
“So the campaign aims to keep rubbish and litter off the streets and make residents understand how important it is to keep the city clean. Everyone is required to dispose of their waste properly so we can keep the city clean and maintain a pleasant environment.
“On Saturday, we will seek the involvement of the private sector to help Kampong Som Waste Management [KSWM] to conduct a major clean-up operation,” Phearum said.
The new governor urged all relevant parties to attend a meeting on Saturday about rubbish and the environment.
“Having discussed rubbish collection at the provincial hall in Sihanoukville, we set July 13 as Rubbish Collection Campaign Day for Preah Sihanouk province. All residents in the province, please attend the campaign,” Chamroeun said.
Phearum said a clean-up operation will take place on Ochheuteal Beach near Prime Minister Hun Sen’s residence and participants are to bring their own cleaning materials.
On Wednesday, Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol called a meeting to discuss the progress of the project to repair 22 roads in Sihanoukville.
During the meeting, Chanthol urged specialised working groups to examine ways to fund repairs and improvements to provincial roads and streets as there is currently a budget shortfall.
Action is needed, he said, because Sihanoukville plans to host major events in the future such the Sea Festival 2020 and an Asean meeting in 2022.
KSWM representative Heng Peng Hak said that during the clean-up operation on Saturday, the company will collect rubbish with some 150 rubbish collectors and 50 trucks, including those from outside companies.
“Preah Sihanouk province is a developing area so there is a mix of waste causing difficulties in the collection, especially construction waste. We know that the provincial labour force is expensive and that makes it hard to find people to do the work,” he said.
Cheap Sotheary, the provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, supported the campaign but said there was no short-term solution and it needs residents’ participation.
“We call for additional waste collection companies to provide competition and then the collection will improve. Over the last two years, there has only been one waste collection company and the rubbish collection hasn’t been successful."
“If only one company is allowed to collect rubbish, then nothing will change,” she said.