The Koh Kong provincial Department of Environment has urged swiftlet house owners in the province to follow environmental protection guidelines before legal measures are taken.
Provincial environment department director Morm Phalla said owners who had recently built houses to raise swiftlets have complied with the regulations, while most who had built such houses in an earlier period are yet to do so.
“The impact of raising swiftlets is noise [pollution]. In contrast, their waste which is the excrement is well handled by the owners as it can be sold,” he said.
Phalla said his department had yet to set a specific time for the owners to comply with the environmental protection regulations before legal actions are taken.
He did not reveal detailed figures regarding the number of swiftlet house owners who have not complied with the regulations.
In its December 7 notice, the department said swiftlet house owners must stop playing the recording of swiftlet sounds from 7pm to 6am to avoid disturbing neighbours.
It said owners who had not made environment protection contracts must do so immediately.
Provincial Department of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction director Vy Ravuth said swiftlet-raising houses in the province are legal, except in natural protected areas and areas that the state has yet to allocate land to people.
“In these areas, we dare not issue a permit yet,” he said.
Provincial deputy governor Sok Sothy told The Post on December 9 that the provincial administration had issued a directive banning swiftlet-raising houses in downtown areas. The directive took effect in the middle of last year.
“Residents can build swiftlet houses outside a 2km radius from town or district centre,” he said.
Suy Kokthean, who specialises in building swiftlet houses, supported the department’s instruction to ban swiftlet sound broadcast from 7pm to 6am.
Kokthean said most swiftlet house owners played the sound too loud, causing a disturbance to neighbours. He noted that playing the sound loudly does not help much in attracting swiftlets.
“The sound is beautiful to the swiftlets’ ear. When we play the sounds too loud, swiftlets seem to fly to the houses and only stay for a short time,” he said.
He claimed swiftlet raising does not harm the environment, as no chemical substance is used. Instead, this agro-based industry can help to preserve the environment because swiftlet excrements can be used as organic fertilisers.