Pheav Sovuthy, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Environment, has emphasised that plastic and garbage concerns demand collaborative solutions at national, regional, and global levels.

Speaking during the 4th Consultation Workshop on Cambodia’s National Action Plan to Combat Marine Waste on August 31, he stressed the necessity for shared responsibility, behavioral changes, trash sorting, and education starting from a young age.

“The establishment of environmentally friendly schools, health centres and activities, along with enhanced safety policies in villages, communes and districts are paramount,” he said.

Sovuthy also highlighted the importance of modernisation of treatment techniques through computer monitoring systems, promoting separation, processing, and recycling for compost and reusable materials.

“A partnership approach between the government and private sector is crucial for solid and liquid waste management,” he added.

Integration of action plans into national and sub-national development methods, aligned with the government’s initial phase of the Pentagonal Strategy, remains a priority for the ministry, he said.

Hong Vannak, an economist at the International Relations Institute of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, endorsed these efforts, urging inter-ministerial efforts for effective plastics and hazardous waste disposal.

“Urgent intervention is essential to prevent health risks, safeguard the environment, and preserve water, families, and the national economy,” he stated.

The environment ministry noted that a significant portion of marine refuse consists of plastics. Approximately eight tonnes enter the seas each year, around 90 per cent of it through ten major rivers, eight of which are in Asia, including the Mekong.

In response, the government, in partnership with the ministry, has initiated the construction of standardised landfills in several provinces, including Kandal, Kampong Speu, Preah Sihanouk, Kampot, Kep, Kampong Chhnang, Pursat, Battambang, Kampong Thom, and Svay Rieng.