Birdlife International Cambodia has installed seven one-cubic-metre concrete receptacles along rice field dykes in two villages near the Anlung Pring protected wetland area in Kampot province to encourage farmers to safely dispose of their waste.
Farmers carelessly dumping chemical pesticide waste is hugely detrimental to the environment and damages the health of both humans and animals, particularly affecting endangered bird species in the protected landscape, it said.
Chum Kea, a 55-year-old Birdlife International volunteer from Chamkar village in Kampong Trach district’s Boeung Sala Kang Tbong commune, said the protected Anlung Pring wetland area was home to more than 30 species, including endangered cranes.
Bottles and cans and plastic bags containing pesticide waste had been dumped in rice fields and low-lying places near a neighbouring lake, posing a serious risk to the area’s birds and biodiversity.
“The management of chemical pesticides requires a concerted effort to protect and preserve our birds for future generations. That is why earlier this month our organisation began installing the seven waste receptacles in Chamkar and Chres villages."
“We hope that farmers will put the agricultural chemical pesticide waste they have used in the receptacles and stop dumping it carelessly,” he said.
Boeung Sala Kang Tbong commune chief Van Bora told The Post that in the past farmers had dumped rubbish and plastic bags containing chemical pesticide waste in their rice fields and the low-lying areas next to the lake.
He said the practice had adversely impacted the environment on land and in the water, with its effects also penetrating underground.
Bora said Birdlife International had educated farmers as to the risks posed by agricultural pesticide waste to humans, animals and the environment following the installation of the receptacles.
Some farmers were now properly disposing of the harmful chemicals in the receptacles and covering them.
Bora appealed for more receptacles, saying: “Seven receptacles are not enough for farmers’ chemical pesticide waste. I request the organisation to install more to ease farmers’ difficulties in disposing of it.”
Birdlife International’s Kea said the installation of the seven receptacles was only the organisation’s first step in implementing a pilot scheme.
It was ready to install further receptacles should villagers need them, he added.