Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Pilot targets plastic at Tonle Sap schools

Pilot targets plastic at Tonle Sap schools

Plastic bottles collected at floating villages on the Tonle Sap Lake on July 7. iDE CAMBODIA
Plastic bottles collected at floating villages on the Tonle Sap Lake on July 7. iDE CAMBODIA

Pilot targets plastic at Tonle Sap schools

The local non-profit organisation iDE Cambodia has launched an innovative pilot project targeting the collection of plastic bottles from schools in the Tonle Sap Lake area.

This initiative kicked off in May, designed to curtail the unchecked disposal of plastic bottles in the environment, appeals especially to those living in the region surrounding the lake, encouraging them to join the effort.

The implementation of this pilot project is underpinned by the support of Save the Children Cambodia and is funded by the EU.

The funding is part of a broader environmental project named Generating Resilient Environments and Promoting Socio-Economic Development of the East Tonle Sap Lake Areas (GREEN).

The ambition of this project is to counter plastic pollution and contribute to the preservation of the Tonle Sap’s health.

The premise of collecting plastic bottles from schools is based on a two-fold approach: prevent the discarding of these items into the environment and keep them from contaminating the Tonle Sap, an essential resource for the community.

Simultaneously, this initiative offers schools a new revenue opportunity by facilitating the sale of these recyclable plastic bottles.

“Following a six-week trial, our team gathered insights from all stakeholders. These included school principals, teachers, village chiefs, parents or guardians, and students. We aimed to understand their perspective on this initiative, their expectations, what worked well and what areas require improvement. We are currently working to broaden this activity to other floating villages around the Tonle Sap Lake,” said iDE.

This call for collective action underlines the importance of community engagement in such initiatives and emphasises a shared vision for a cleaner, greener future.

Sat Sokha, director of Chulsa Primary School in the Tonle Sap area, echoed the project’s ethos. He asserted his school’s firm stance against plastic waste pollution in the floating village of the lake.

The school has initiated a unique programme encouraging students to collect all plastic bottles from their homes and bring them to school.

The school now functions as a repository for these plastic water bottles. Recyclers purchase the collected plastic directly from the school.

He noted that the school is collaboratively working to reduce the quantity of plastic entering the lake, thereby protecting the water, people, and the health of both humans and aquatic animals.

In conjunction with its partners, iDE has been implementing an array of activities to combat plastic pollution.

These include the creation of low-cost, floating waste collection tools named “Biobars”. These are designed to intercept waste, thereby preventing it from flowing into the Tonle Sap and causing further pollution.

Additionally, the organisation has been conducting training for waste collectors, imparting business knowledge and encouraging them to recycle waste.

They have also launched the EU-sponsored “Let’s Clean Up the Tonle Sap” campaign to influence social behaviour change.

This comprehensive and sustained effort underscores the commitment to creating a sustainable and clean environment for the inhabitants of the Tonle Sap area and beyond.


  • Joy as Koh Ker Temple registered by UNESCO

    Cambodia's Koh Ker Temple archaeological site has been officially added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List, during the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on September 17. The ancient temple, also known as Lingapura or Chok Gargyar, is located in

  • Famed US collector family return artefacts to Cambodia

    In the latest repatriation of ancient artefacts from the US, a total of 33 pieces of Khmer cultural heritage will soon return home, according to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts. In a September 12 press statement, it said the US Attorney’s Office for the

  • Tina rebuffs ‘false claims’ over falling paddy price

    Agriculture minister Dith Tina has shed light on the trade of paddy rice in Battambang – Cambodia’s leading rice-producing province – in a bid to curb what he dubs a “social media fact distortion campaign” to destabilise the market. While acknowledging that the prices of paddy

  • Cambodia set to celebrate Koh Ker UNESCO listing

    To celebrate the inscription of the Koh Ker archaeological site on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, the Ministry of Cults and Religion has appealed to pagodas and places of worship to celebrate the achievement by ringing bells, shaking rattles and banging gongs on September 20. Venerable

  • Kampot curfew imposed to curb ‘gang’ violence

    Kampot provincial police have announced measures to contain a recent spike in antisocial behaviour by “unruly’ youth. Officials say the province has been plagued by recent violence among so-called “gang members”, who often fight with weapons such as knives and machetes. Several social observers have

  • PM outlines plans to discuss trade, policy during US visit

    Prime Minister Hun Manet is set to meet with senior US officials and business leaders during his upcoming visit to the US for the UN General Assembly (UNGA), scheduled for September 20. While addressing nearly 20,000 workers in Kampong Speu province, Manet said he aims to affirm