The environmental youth group Creal Cambodia said its Keep Cambodia Clean project, which first started on February 7, was off to a good start, having drawn the participation of hundreds of young people as well as some assistance from local authorities.
Hour Chhai Ngorn, Creal Cambodia founder and head of the project, said the Keep Cambodia Clean campaign has the goals of cleaning up the environment and educating the participants and the public about waste disposal and plastic reduction.
The campaign will focus on the capital and four towns – Siem Reap, Battambang, Kep and Kampot.
Chhai Ngorn told The Post on February 9 that the campaign had 444 participants volunteering so far with 261 in Phnom Penh, 83 in Battambang and 100 in Siem Reap.
He noted that the campaign will be extended to Kampot and Kep next month with the later start for those locations attributed to scheduling and budget considerations.
“This is a good start for the Keep Cambodia Clean project. We’ve received a warm welcome from all the local authorities – from the municipal and provincial administrations down to districts, communes and villages,” he said.
The Creal Cambodia founder added that there was greater participation from youth groups than initially expected with over 1,000 young people applying in the first month.
However, he had decided to limit the number of people signing up to ensure things went smoothly.
Chhai Ngorn said that in Phnom Penh the group’s first target location was along the Chroy Changvar riverbank where they collected over 200 bags of rubbish weighing more than 1.5 tonnes in total. Most of it was single-use plastic waste like bottles, cups and packaging.
Yan Sophea, Siem Reap provincial coordinator for the Keep Cambodia Clean project, told The Post that the campaign in Siem Reap that began on February 7 had good results.
“There was participation from school teachers, principals and students, and also some police officers and officials. And the vendors who sell near the river pitched in to help when they saw what was going on. We had about 100 members of Creal Cambodia there too,” he said.
He said the Siem Reap volunteers collected 250 bags of rubbish weighing about two tonnes.
Sorn Visal, Battambang provincial coordinator for the campaign, also said she observed that youth from there and those from nearby provinces had been enthusiastic about volunteering to clean up the environment together as well.
“Rubbish disposal and environmental issues are everyone’s responsibility. We all need to be aware of and responsible about the waste we create. The environment represents our home, our community and our society,” Visal said.
According to Creal Cambodia’s press release, the Keep Cambodia Clean campaign went smoothly with the support of the Ministry of Environment, Phnom Penh Municipal Administration, provincial authorities and hundreds of young Cambodians.
During this first month of activity in three locations – Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang – the campaign collected 4.2 tonnes of rubbish.
“We will continue holding these events every month for all of 2021 on the first Sunday of each month,” Chhai Ngorn said.