The Environment Ministry has been put in charge of regulating the largely informal disposal of the Kingdom’s electronic waste, or e-waste, with a ministry official attributing this to a rapid increase in the use of consumer electronics across the country.
A sub-decree, made public yesterday and signed in early February, sets guidelines for businesses that buy, break down or dispose of electronics – such as TVs, phones and batteries – which will now be required to submit a request to the ministry before starting their operations.
Sao Sopheap, a spokesman for the ministry, said that given the country’s 7 plus per cent growth rates, the use of electronics had seen a significant increase, with disposal methods remaining largely “unofficial”.
“This is a growing concern, and we have observed that e-waste is being disposed of in public areas,” he said.
He added that the ministry will consult with the private sector to develop pilot projects to implement the sub-decree.
The sub-decree also prevents the import of electronic waste into the country and sets out penalties for individuals and firms found disposing e-waste into rivers or dumps, ranging from 40,000 riel for individuals to 2 million riel for businesses.
A 2015 United Nations report on e-waste in Cambodia found a high level of cross-border, often illegal, movement of e-waste into Cambodia, which after being dismantled was then exported to countries like, China, Thailand and Vietnam.