RISING levels of pollution from human waste and illegal dumping in Tonle Sap Lake is adversely affecting water quality across the Kingdom, officials say.
"We're worried that [water] pollution is getting worse," said Phin Rady, chief of water and soil quality management in the Environment Ministry's Department of Pollution Control.
Poor waste management and drainage for local households and restaurants has resulted in higher levels of raw sewage, he said.
"The population has increased around Tonle Sap, but most areas have no proper drainage systems, so waste ends up in the lake," Phin Rady said.
The government has recruited environmental experts who are working to verify that local factories process waste before it ends up in the lake.
"Even though the law demands recycling of waste, we have not always made regular checks to see if they are complying," Phin Rady said.
Ministry officials are also concerned as natural watersheds such as Boeung Kak lake disappear, leading some to speculate that pollution in the capital will only get worse.
Private developers Tuesday began filling in Boeung Kak to make space for a new 133-hectare commercial and housing development, raising fears that reclaiming the lake could lead to greater flooding and long-term environmental damage.
Despite funding from the Asian Development Bank to improve sanitation and clean water supplies in rural areas by 2025, Phin Rady said the government still lacks funds to build proper drainage systems that would protect Cambodia's poorest and most vulnerable.