The World Bank said they will address concerns raised by 292 families regarding a landfill project in Kandal province’s Sa’ang district through meetings with all stakeholders. The families have requested that the landfill project in the Prek Raing reservoir area be relocated.
In a letter to the World Bank on August 26, the 292 families’ representatives suggested that the landfill project be moved elsewhere due to the serious negative impacts they believe it would have on residents in the area.
“There are two kinds of impacts: First, the loss of land which people have been relying on for their livelihoods since 1979 could mean starvation for some of us. Second, if the authorities dump rubbish near our houses, this will produce a terrible stench and seriously affect our health,” the letter read.
On September 20, World Bank country manager Maryam Salim issued a letter in reply, saying different options were still being assessed.
“As of now, no landfill site has been selected. The concerns that you share with us are well-noted and will be discussed in detail with our project counterparts, most notably with the Ministry of Interior,” she said.
According to the letter, as part of the project’s preparations, the World Bank is supporting the government in carrying out landfill site feasibility studies in Kandal, Siem Reap and Kampong Speu provinces.
In Kandal province, a number of different potential areas are being examined, including the site options in Sa’ang district.
The letter added that the assessments are based on criteria including distance of waste transportation to the site options, physical site conditions for potential landfill development, current land use and ownership, development zoning, social impacts, community safety and also community input.
The assessments will also take into account the presence of environmental assets, environmental impacts and cultural heritage.
As required by the World Bank’s Environmental and Social Framework, meaningful stakeholder engagement, including consultations with local communities, will be part of the feasibility study for all landfill sites, Salim said.
Chhom Sothy, a representative of the families in Teuk Vil commune’s Tuol Khmuonh village near the potential site, said on September 21 that she was very happy to have received a reply from the World Bank representative in Cambodia. She thanked the World Bank for paying attention to their concerns and she hoped that the landfill site would not be built in the Prek Raing reservoir area.
“I feel that the World Bank has treated us with respect. They said they consider and analyse whether something is reasonable or not before implementing their projects. So now the World Bank understands the reasons our people have for requesting a different site and will consider them in their decisions, so I am very happy,” she said.
Kruy Malen, head of administration at the Kandal Provincial Hall, said on September 21 that the province was awaiting an official response from the World Bank after proposing the landfill site in Sa’ang district for the implementation of the solid and plastic waste management improvement project.
“Everything has been discussed with the ministry working group as well as the World Bank representatives, they were studying the information that we prepared for the World Bank along with the final documents,” he said.
Malen said the provincial administration had decided to allocate land to the World Bank to implement the approximately 15-ha project there to ensure that the province does not run out of landfill capacity.