NatureLife Cambodia (NLC) has installed 29 agrochemical drainage units across the Crane Rice fields surrounding the Anlung Pring protected landscape in Kampot province’s Kampong Trach district. This initiative aims to enhance the management of empty pesticide containers and enable farmers to store them correctly to minimise toxic runoff.

Bou Vorsak, executive director of NLC, stated on September 27 that the project, now in its fourth year, hopes to bolster community participation in managing the highly hazardous materials.

According to NLC, collection of empty agrochemicals is carried out twice a year from four villages: Koh Chamkar, Koh Tnaot, Preah Troheung, and Chres, in the Boeung Sala Khang Tbong and Prek Kroes communes in Kampong Trach.

As of August 17, the organisation’s field team and officials in the protected area collected a total of 1,479 empty cans and 1,426 used packs of agrochemicals.

The organisation has also sought cooperation from the Kep provincial environment department to facilitate the operation of the agrochemical incinerator located in Kep town and province.

“In August, during our third collection, NLC secured more than 850 empty cans of agrochemicals. These were gathered from concrete bins provided by our organisation and subsequently incinerated in kilns supplied by the [environment ministry],” Vorsak said on his Facebook page.

He emphasised that community involvement and awareness of the project’s impact on living conditions and the ecosystem, especially on the area’s cranes, have increased.

“In 2018, there were cranes, a rare species, that died and could have become extinct. However, for the last two years, no incidents of poisoning have been observed,” he said, highlighting the benefits to public health and ecosystems.

For the upcoming year, Vorsak plans to enhance the participation of commune councils and extend the project to other villages or communes.

“In the future, we aim to encourage the commune council to assume leadership of this initiative, utilise the commune budget, and ensure its sustainability beyond the initial four years of piloting the project,” he said.