The Preah Sihanouk provincial administration on Tuesday launched its first public latrine facility with 17 toilets at the Independence Beach Park to ease visitors’ difficulties and conserve the coastal environment.
Prak Visal, the head of the provincial hall’s public relations and cooperation bureau, told The Post that previously, local and international visitors either had to use toilets at restaurants and hotels or go in public places. The latter practice, he said, produced a foul odour, leaving the environment and the city’s image in ruins.
“In order to maintain a good environment and ease tourists and the general public, the provincial governor has instructed officials to allocate a budget for the construction of public restrooms,” he said.
The first public latrine facility, Visal said, cost $40,000 to build, $35,000 of which was funded by South Korea’s Suwon City Hall, with the rest paid by the Preah Sihanouk provincial administration.
The provincial hall plans to open two more facilities this year – one near the downtown Lions Roundabout and the other at the Kon So Park, both of which are still under construction. The fourth facility will be built next year at Canadia Park, Visal said.
“If we have public toilets, visitors will use the service. They will no longer attend to nature’s call on the beach and other public places. This facility is ideal for the public and the environment. We hope they will use the service,” he said.
Visal said workers would be employed for regular maintenance and cleaning of the facility, with wages, water and electricity costs paid by the provincial authority.
Sok Sokhom, the director of the Cambodian National Research Organisation (CNRO), welcomed the move. Previously, he said, public toilets were installed only during the main national holidays.
“We need to have more public latrines to prevent people from attending to nature’s call in public places. It’s good for public sanitation and the environment,” he said.
Sokhom urged authorities to build more public latrines to meet the increasing demand at popular tourist attractions.
“Authorities need to determine how many toilets they should build at public beaches and parks, employ enough workers to conduct regular maintenance and cleaning, and ensure there is enough running water at each facility,” he said.
Preah Sihanouk city resident Korm Chan Saly told The Post that prior to the opening of the first public latrine at the Independence Beach, he had to pay to use private toilets, which he said were smelly and unhygienic.
“The toilet had an unpleasant smell. The province is a tourist destination, but its beaches and toilets are not clean. I feel bad about it,” he said.