More than 3.3 million people participated in the “Today I will not use plastic” campaign in the three-month period from September 1 to December 1, proclaiming, “We joined forces to protect the environment in Cambodia and said goodbye to plastic”.

According to a December 2 social media post by the Ministry of Environment, the contributors included 118,022 teachers, 2,974,912 students and 562,270 workers, among others. The initiative reached 7,135 schools, 179 factories, 28 pagodas and 71 urban communities throughout the country.

Ath Thorn, president of the Cambodian Labour Confederation (CLC), expressed his support on December 3 for the environmental campaign reaching factory workers. He highlighted that numerous factories extensively use plastic bags and often fail to dispose of them properly, causing environmental harm.

He suggested that the ministry continue such efforts to reduce use and expand its reach to other workers across the country so that they can join the ministry in refraining from using the non-biodegradable material for the sake of the environment and hygiene in factories.

Cheng Limhorn, director of the Preah Vihear provincial Department of Education, Youth and Sport, explained that in their efforts to reduce plastic use on school grounds, the province had been concentrating on teachers and students.

“When we use a lot of plastics, they pose numerous dangers, particularly to the environment. They spoil the beauty of our surroundings when scattered and littered. Improper disposal of plastic compounds these issues,” he stated.

He said that school leaders in Preah Vihear town had initiated a trial of the reduction campaign during the new school year. They prohibited the use of plastic for cake and food sales, instead opting for banana or lotus leaves. 

“Plastic bags endanger human life and the environment … therefore, we started banning the use of plastic bags on school grounds in the town for the 2023-2024 academic year. If successful, we will expand the campaign to schools in other districts across the entire province,” he added.