A group calling themselves “Rubbish Youths” who have become social media celebrities for removing litter from the Boeung Trabek canal have said they will continue doing so despite the authorities halting their Khmer New Year event.
Made up of some 30 young people, the group vowed to keep on clearing rubbish until Cambodia is free of it after Chamkarmon district authorities shut down the trash-collecting new year celebrations they were holding.
Authorities said the group had not applied for permission for the event in Boeung Trabek which was held to highlight the capital’s rubbish problem and underscore the importance of disposing waste properly.
Rubbish Youths acknowledged their mistake in failing to request permission for the event but said they were determined to continue their efforts.
“I think our citizens have thrown rubbish away in a messy manner for many years, so it has become a bad habit that cannot be changed immediately."
“Besides rubbish collection from the canal, the next plan is to collect trash thrown on the ground throughout Phnom Penh,” Rubbish Youths founder San Daravid said in a video viewed by almost 50,000 people on Facebook on Tuesday.
Daravid told The Post on Wednesday that he did not expect the authorities to shut down their New Year event held to highlight the serious effects rubbish has on the environment.
However, he said he did not seek permission from the authorities as he thought the event was only a small one held with good intentions.
Thim Sam An, the deputy governor of Chamkarmon district, said on Wednesday that while the authorities encouraged the group’s activities, they were concerned the unauthorised event was dangerous.
“I do thank them for their efforts but I want them to be educators for people and leave the work of collecting rubbish to the authorities. It can be dangerous for young people to go into the canal to collect rubbish like that. The canal is deep,” he said.