Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Raising a stink in Siem Reap

Raising a stink in Siem Reap

Garbage collected from city roads and local houses piles up next to a trash receptacle at a dump site in Siem Reap
Garbage collected from city roads and local houses piles up next to a trash receptacle at a dump site in Siem Reap this week. Thik Kaliyann

Raising a stink in Siem Reap

Piles of waste stinking up Siem Reap’s Chreav commune are causing serious health problems and making the area unlivable, according to local residents.

The site in Knar village, which is run by refuse company Global Action for Environment Awareness (GAEA), is plagued with flies and a smell that leaves nearby residents reaching for the sick bag,
locals said.

“The smell is so bad from day to day, especially in the rainy season. Sometimes my family has to eat lunch and dinner under a mosquito net,” said villager Oun Srey Mao.

“My son gets sick every week – dizziness, vomiting and diarrhea, difficulty breathing – all that happened because of the smell of rubbish”, she added.

Residents of Knar village told the Post yesterday that the issue dates back at least to the administration of former Siem Reap governor Sou Phirin, who had not managed to find a solution despite multiple requests for intervention.

Loung Khin, another Knar village resident, said their hopes now rest with current governor Khim Bunsong.

“We need a clean and healthy environment; we want to see our children look healthy,” he said.

GAEA is the only rubbish collection company in Siem Reap. It also runs the Bakong district dump, which has attracted numerous homeless Cambodians who scratch out a living in the trash.

GAEA director Pho Phallkun said yesterday that the garbage storage area in Knar village had been created in 1999 when no one lived there.

“We chose that area because before no one lived there, and I know that the smell has affected people, but I really do not know what to do, because there are only people asking us to relocate [villagers], but no one has suggested a suitable alternative,” he said.

“We did not ignore the villagers’ suggestion, but we need time to do it, to reduce the garbage smell.”

Deputy provincial governor Kim Chhay Heng said that the company had been ordered to move to another more suitable area.

“They failed; they have to relocate to another site,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • Stock photo agencies cash in on Khmer Rouge tragedy
    Stock-photo companies selling images from S-21 raises ethics concerns

    A woman with short-cropped hair stares directly into the camera, her head cocked slightly to the side. On her lap is a sleeping infant just barely in the frame. The woman was the wife of a Khmer Rouge officer who fell out of favour, and

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the