Siem Reap provincial authorities have shown their commitment to improving sanitation and access to toilets in order to achieve “open defecation free”

(ODF) status for the entire province in 2023, with just Srey Snom and Angkor Chum districts currently left to be certified.

The provincial hall made the pledge on the 13th National Day for the Promotion of Rural Sanitation on November 18.

Provincial deputy governor Ung Kimleang said on November 20 that the authorities are ready to declare Siem Reap ODF by 2023 as part of their efforts to promote environmental sanitation and tourism in the province.

“Reaching ODF status across the entire province is a government initiative to improve the health of its citizenry and reduce the impacts of poverty in Cambodia ... Having a sanitary environment is one of the most important factors for human health, and especially helps with the promotion of tourism,” he said.

He also stated that the supply of clean water is a key factor in the promotion of rural sanitation and the provincial administration has been paying close attention to water supply issues and ensuring the reliable supply of services to the people.

Clean water supply should reach 90 per cent of the population by 2025 because all people in rural communities must have adequate access to clean water in order to live in a hygienic environment, according to Kimleang.

Ten years ago, in 2012, Siem Reap had a sanitation services coverage of just 27.50 per cent and a clean water coverage of 33.10 per cent, with no villages or districts in the province having ODF status. Currently, the sanitation coverage rate stands at 82.90 per cent and the clean water supply coverage rate is at 76 per cent.

The deputy governor added that the provincial administration has identified Angkor Thom, Banteay Srei and Siem Reap town as areas that have achieved ODF status in 2022.

According to a message from Prime Minister Hun Sen marking the 13th National Day for the Promotion of Rural Sanitation on November 13, the sanitation coverage for rural communities in Cambodia has increased to more than 80 per cent while the rate of rural households with hand washing facilities has increased to 96 per cent.

The first two provinces in Cambodia to achieve ODF status were Svay Rieng and Prey Veng, followed by Kandal, Kampong Speu, Kep and Kampong Chhnang, bringing the number of ODF status communities to 5,298 villages in 393 communes in 31 districts.