Some 5,000 people participated in a clean-up campaign in Sihanoukville on Saturday, organised by the new provincial governor, as the amount of waste produced by the city has now reached up to 800 tonnes per day.
Preah Sihanouk provincial spokesperson Kheang Phearum told The Post on Sunday that more than 245 truckloads of waste were delivered to a dump site on Saturday.
He said the clean-up campaign was continuing with collaboration between the provincial authority and the local waste management company. “We will continue to collect rubbish regularly until there is no more left,” he said.
Phearum said nearly 5,000 people had participated in the clean-up operation and used almost 200 items of machinery to collect, transport and dispose of the waste at the dumpsite.
Provincial governor Kuoch Chamroeun said during the operation on Saturday: “We should not tolerate people who throw rubbish on our public streets.”
He said the waste management issue in Sihanoukville is expanding beyond the capability of Kampong Som Waste Management (KSWM), but committed to controlling the problem by setting clear and specific schedules to dispose of rubbish on time.
“Large quantities of rubbish are accumulating in Sihanoukville and the amount of waste is increasing because the city is developing fast."
“The amount of rubbish is exceeding the ability of the waste company to transport and dispose of it, which causes more to be left behind,” he said.
He called on volunteers to educate the public that from now on they should bag and manage their rubbish properly in order to preserve good hygiene and maintain a clean environment.
Spokesman Phearum said: “The provincial governor also stressed that we cannot clean the city in one or two days.
“But this campaign will help us to identify the waste management issue clearly and have documents to share with the public to participate in solving the problem.”
KSWM representative Heng Peng Hak said that because Preah Sihanouk province was developing so rapidly, there were various types of waste mixed together, making it difficult to control.
He said the amount of waste in Sihanoukville had increased from 300-400 tonnes per day last year to the current level of 600-800 tonnes.
Cambodian National Research Organisation (CNRO) director Sok Sokhom told The Post on Sunday that he had seen how much rubbish was left behind in some areas of Preah Sihanouk province and urged the new governor to organise a clean-up campaign to change the people’s mindsets.
“I would also like the provincial governor and the city governor to monitor the waste management company and study the available resources, the technical experts and equipment used to deal with the province’s rubbish."
“Something has to change. What are the new measures? To change the waste-collecting company or not? Because since the day it was established, the waste management company has failed to make significant achievements in rubbish collection,” he said.