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Village goes DIY with waste collection

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Villagers collect waste in Preah Dak village in Siem Reap province’s Banteay Srei district on May 23. Banteay Srei district Administration​

Village goes DIY with waste collection

The Banteay Srei district administration in Siem Reap province has used the “self-managed community” formula to successfully implement local waste management in Preah Dak village for the past five months.

District governor Khim Finan said on May 25 that efforts to establish waste collection services in the villages under the “self-managed community” formula in the past have shown positive results.

He said the key indicators are regular cleanliness in the village and the regular payment of fees by the villagers and that both are a testament to the initial success of the programme in its early stages.

“Finally, Preah Dak villagers have been able to take full control of the waste management in their local area on their own after a smooth trial run these past five months,” said Finan.

The “self-managed community” formula, he said, is a non-profit form of waste collection that the district administration has tried to encourage because – due to the small number of customers for waste collection services in rural areas – it isn’t easy to find companies that are interested in investing in those markets.

“This has given the community the autonomy to manage and collect fees at reasonably low rates, but still under the control of the local authorities. Community representatives collected 4,000 riel from each family. For businesses or large-scale sellers, the service fees range from 10,000 to 30,000 riel [$2.50 to $7.50],” he said.

Finan emphasised that any profits generated will be used to strengthen the efficiency of waste collection, such as providing more bins, purchasing more collection equipment and buying uniforms for community workers.

Finan said the community has some additional responsibilities, such as sorting waste for recycling, cleaning streets and collecting waste that is scattered throughout the area. Local authorities continue to play an important role in monitoring, evaluating, mobilising and encouraging participation.

Finan believes that it will be possible to expand the scope of waste collection using this format to six more villages in Preah Dak commune.

According to the district governor, Banteay Srei has six communes and 36 villages with a total population of more than 50,000 people.

Preah Dak village chief Loek Vun said the village authorities had organised community representatives to train residents on how to store and distribute waste before it is collected to be buried in a landfill.

Hem Udom, an environmental expert, said waste management should be done at the local level in order for it to be effective.

“People still need to be put into an education programme through the Ministry of Environment or through local officials out of necessity. But we cannot just pass this responsibility on to the waste collection company or the person in charge. We, as citizens, must join together,” he said.

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