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Ocean plastic waste tackled

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Cintri workers collect rubbish along the riverside in Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changvar district. Hong Menea

Ocean plastic waste tackled

The National Council for Sustainable Development (NCSD) is studying an ocean plastic management system to be implemented in provinces close to the beach and provinces along the Mekong River.

Taing Meng Eang, director of the NCSD’s Department of Green Economy, told The Post on November 11 the ocean plastic management project will be implemented next year. The main purpose is to contain and reduce plastic pollution in the sea.

“In Cambodia, we have the Mekong River flowing into the sea. So we plan to carry out work in some target provinces along the Mekong River,” he said.

Meng Eang said NCSD will cooperate with UNDP and the Ministry of Environment to implement the project with funding from Japan for two and a half years. He did not reveal the cost, however.

He said the NCSD has received valuable input on expected outcomes. The first involves a consensus and cooperation in implementing the project along with the Phnom Penh municipal environment department, which is coordinating with the education and tourism departments.

The NCSD is considering launching an anti-waste campaign for schools and people who live along rivers.

NCSD is also considering creating recycling centres.

“The practical implementation cannot be like the expectations because many challenges will arise. Right now we have the problem of Covid-19 and flooding. Do we set it aside or do we do it? We will do it,” he said.

Environmental expert Hem Oudam said even if the infrastructure is created to reduce and store rubbish, there remains a lack of recycling systems.

“I have observed that there is a lack of recycling systems, sorting out solid and soft rubbish. In particular, it is the habit or the attitude of people that remains considerably limited. People throw rubbish outside the dustbin. They seem to think it is not their obligation,” he said.

Oudam said changing people’s attitudes takes time.

Meanwhile, he said relevant institutions need to spread the word. They can create more Apps on social media that people like to see. They can put out other creative and educational ideas to raise public awareness about the benefits of properly disposing of rubbish.

Hopefully, people will increase their attention and responsibility, he said.

Phnom Penh deputy governor Huot Hay said at the recently launched Clean Phnom Penh Campaign on November 4 that beautifying, sanitising, keeping Phnom Penh or any area free of pollution, rubbish and plastic waste does not depend on local authorities and rubbish collection companies alone.

He said it warrants public participation.

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