Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sihanoukville building site accused of burning waste




Sihanoukville building site accused of burning waste

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The illegal burning of plastic and construction waste in Sihanoukville. Photo supplied

Sihanoukville building site accused of burning waste

The owner of a high-rise construction site in Preah Sihanouk province’s Commune 2 has been accused of having “secretly burned huge amounts of plastic day and night” by an anonymous source who contacted The Post on Monday.

“The smoke causes headaches, nausea and sore throats for everybody living in the area. The burning of plastic and construction waste is against the law in Cambodia because the smoke causes cancer and lung diseases.

“The air has made everybody here sick, especially children and the elderly,” the source said via email, identifying a Chinese national as the owner of the site.

Commune 2 chief Kim Sea said authorities imposed fines for the illegal burning of household and commercial rubbish, adding that most owners of construction sites hired private waste disposal companies to follow the law.

The source claimed local residents had notified authorities on several occasions, but police had ignored their complaints and the illegal burning of plastic waste continued.

Commune 2 chief Kim Sea told The Post on Monday that authorities imposed fines for the illegal burning of rubbish, including both household and construction waste.

Sea conceded that some smaller sites continued to secretly burn waste, but authorities had yet to receive reports of residents’ health being affected.

“We haven’t heard this particular allegation. If we people report that their health is being impacted, we will visit the site concerned immediately to resolve the issue,” he said.

Municipal Governor Y Sokleng told The Post that the secret burning of rubbish is rare and did not “generally occur in Sihanoukville”.

Authorities regularly educate residents, he said, sometimes imposing fines according to the law if they continued to burn waste.

“I have not received specific reports, but I have been informed of several instances in which waste has been burned secretly.

“I urge the local police and environment officers to fine those who burn waste,” Sokleng said.

Massive heaps of rubbish were burned on the side of the road in Commune 4’s Village 2 in Preah Sihanouk province last April when the majority of Kampong Som Waste Management employees were on holiday for Khmer New Year.

Police said the waste was set ablaze illegally, sending toxic plumes of smoke into the air.

Cambodian National Research Organisation director Sok Sokhom declined to comment to The Post on the issue, saying “it is just a small problem”.

Provincial Department of Environment director Samut Sothearith could not be reached for comment by press time.

The World Health Organisation estimates that 3.7 million people die each year as a result of air pollution, with open burning being responsible for at least one-fifth of those deaths.

MOST VIEWED

  • All inbound flights set to face added scrutiny

    Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said on Monday that the ministry is monitoring all inbound flights, after it was announced that only those from Malaysia and Indonesia will be temporarily cancelled from August 1. Vandine said on Monday that the two countries were identified as

  • Flights from Indonesia, Malaysia cancelled

    A Ministry of Health official has warned of the possibility of Covid-19 spreading through community transmission after the total infected cases in the Kingdom rose to 225. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told reporters on Saturday that the possibility of community transmission cannot be overlooked and that

  • Man in quarantine dies of ‘overdose’

    The Ministry of Health on Thursday said a Cambodian migrant worker who died while being isolated at a quarantine centre in Tbong Khmum province’s Kroch Chhmar district may have died from syncope or overdose of tablets. In a statement, the ministry said the 21-year-old

  • Ministry set to reopen 20 schools in August

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport will allow 20 high-safety-standards schools to reopen next month despite new cases of Covid-19 in the country. Ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha wrote in a Telegram message on Wednesday that the schools are in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang.