Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tonle Sap lake plastic waste tackled

Tonle Sap lake plastic waste tackled

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
People prepare to remove waste from the Siem Reap River in Siem Reap province on Sunday. Photo supplied

Tonle Sap lake plastic waste tackled

The Ministry of Environment has called on communities on the Tonle Sap Lake to join a weeklong clean-up campaign to reduce the plastic waste and pollution that is destroying the ecology and biodiversity of one of the world’s most productive freshwater fisheries.

Environment ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra on November 22 announced the opening of National Sanitation Day and the Tonle Sap Festival 2020 under the theme “Good sanitation, environment, good community health in Siem Reap”. The campaign will continue until November 28.

He urged community members who live on the Tonle Sap in Siem Reap, Kampong Thom, Kampong Chhnang, Pursat and Battambang provinces to stop throwing rubbish in the lake and to help reduce pollution, especially plastic waste.

“The Tonle Sap Lake was polluted by plastics from community members who live on it and by the plastics that people throw into various creeks and rivers that flow into the lake,” Pheaktra said.

He stressed that discarded plastic bags, which can take hundreds of years to decompose, were polluting the environment and harming society, health and the environment.

Pheaktra said the celebration of National Sanitation Day on November 23 would include a campaign to clean up plastic waste during the receding season of the Tonle Sap Lake. The celebration was organised by the environmental department of Siem Reap, the Siem Reap provincial administration and the charity NGO2 BambooShoot Foundation. Ocean Recovery Alliance, an NGO based in Hong Kong and California, is a donor partner for the campaign.

He estimated that nearly 5,000 people from five communities on the Tonle Sap Lake and the downstream river of Siem Reap would take part in the celebration. Pheaktra added that 2,450 members had joined the clean-up campaign while another 2, 500 had agreed to clean up the areas around their respective houses.

Pheaktra said the plastic waste that will be collected this year will be recycled as environmental clay.

“The Tonle Sap Lake abounds with biodiversity, especially many species of national fish and an important ecology. [We] must stop plastics from polluting the environment so the lake retains its beauty and attracts more tourists. We practice the slogan: We are clean, our communities are clean. The Tonle Sap is clean without plastic,” according to report Pheaktra wrote last year.

Sea Sophal, director of NGO2 BambooShoot Foundation, said on November 22 that the programme would take place for a week from November 22 to 28. The campaign was launched at communities near the Tonle Sap from areas in Kampong Khlaing, Kampong Phluk, Chong Khnies, the Siem Reap River and the Mechrey community.

The main focus of the programme is to educate communities about sanitation, Sophal said, adding that local people would learn how to gather and sort plastic waste properly.

“The campaign to collect plastic waste takes place every year in November when the Tonle Sap Lake waters start to recede. In June, when the Tonle Sap waters start to rise, it flows back,” Sophal said.

“Thousands of community members will join us in conserving the biodiversity of the Tonle Sap Lake for all of us.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Cambodia purchases 4 million Molnupiravir tablets

    Cambodia has arranged for the purchase of four million US-made Molnupiravir pills – enough to treat 100,000 Covid-19 patients – even though the current rate of daily infections in Cambodia remains low. The medicine will be distributed to state hospitals, pharmacies and private clinics, according to the Samdech

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • Is Cambodia’s travel sector in for another cheerless holiday season?

    The travel and tourism sector was heaving back to life as borders started to reopen, promising a festive vibe for the holidays and New Year. But Omicron and other Covid-related issues are threatening to close the year on a bleak note ‘Seems [like] Covid-19 won’

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Cambodia planning new border checkpoint at Thma Da

    Cambodia is looking into the possibility of opening a new Thma Da Border Checkpoint with Thailand to boost trade and tourism. The Ministry of Public Works and Transport said on December 4 that Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol led a technical working group