Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol has called on those secretly pumping dirty water into the sea in Preah Sihanouk province to immediately halt their activities. The government had issued a similar call prior to the Khmer New Year holidays.
Chanthol made his latest call while inspecting sewage treatment in the province on Monday with Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth and provincial governor Yun Min. He urged governor Min to take further measures to stop such activities.
“Due to nefarious individuals who pump dirty water into the sea at night, it does not enter the treatment system. I also call on hoteliers and such to please not pump dirty water into the sea. You must direct it into the drainage system to enter our water treatment process first."
“Even though chemical substances cannot be 100 per cent removed, it is better than pumping the water directly into the sea. So please, do not defy [the order and pump dirty water into the sea]. It harms the environment – our seawater,” he said.
Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction Chea Sophara, who is also chairman of the National Committee for Coastal Area Management and Development, led more than 3,000 ministry officials in late March to research and learn about the province’s coastline environment.
Pumping dirty water
This came after the government halted the pumping of dirty water into the sea and commissioned dumping stations in four locations to divert water to dirty water filter stations.
Provincial government spokesperson Kheang Phearum said the authorities in the past have laid out measures, such as temporarily shutting down restaurants whose owners had secretly pumped dirty water into the sea.
“So if in some places, they still continue to pump or direct sewage into the sea, we will close down their businesses. In serious cases, we will forward the matter directly to the court,” he said.
Chanthol said the problem is due to unimaginable progress in the province’s construction sector and his ministry’s failure to study plans prior to managing the dirty water.
He said a 45km drainage system and filtration stations in the province are currently under construction adjacent to the sea. They aim to prevent dirty water from flowing into the sea.
Chanthol said 40,000 cubic metres of dirty water flowed into the water filtration system today.
The system is currently only able to treat some 7,000 cubic metres per day, while the new system will be able to treat 40,000 cubic metres daily.
He said that on May 21, he and Sophara were due to convene a meeting with the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Economy and Finance with a focus on further measures to manage dirty water.
The dumping stations at the four locations would be equipped with generators to continue operations during blackouts.