Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Youths band together to clean ‘filthy’ Boeung Trabek canal

Youths band together to clean ‘filthy’ Boeung Trabek canal

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A group of some two dozen volunteer youths have taken to picking up trash day and night from Phnom Penh’s filthy Boeung Trabek canal. FACEBOOK

Youths band together to clean ‘filthy’ Boeung Trabek canal

Inspired by their affection for the environment, a desire to have a clean and beautiful city, and wanting to send a message to people to stop littering, a group of some two dozen volunteer youths have taken to picking up trash day and night from Phnom Penh’s filthy Boeung Trabek canal.

The youths, who come from diverse backgrounds and who began by contacting each other on Facebook Messenger, have been hard at work, unpaid, for 12 days thus far.

They have collected almost 40 tonnes of rubbish from the Boeung Trabek open sewer, working from morning to midnight, but each morning they are met with yet more.

In Ratana, 22, who has just completed his master’s degree from the National University of Management and is one the volunteers, replied to The Post on Messenger while he was busy cleaning up the city yesterday.

He said the factors driving the youths to perform this thankless task were their love of the environment, a wish for the city to be beautiful and a desire for people to better understand the impact of rubbish and the benefits of disposing waste properly.

Ratana, whose Facebook name is Kodomo and has posted a host of pictures regarding their garbage collecting activities, has been unemployed since graduating.

“Ideally, you want to have more people collecting rubbish than people throwing rubbish away. My message to those who throw rubbish indiscriminately is that they must pack it up and put it into rubbish bins."

“I want to raise awareness of the importance of disposing of rubbish properly so people stop throwing it into the sewer,” he said.

Teng Veasna, another volunteer, who is an artist and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in tourism, told The Post yesterday that rubbish was still floating in the sewer even though the group has been cooperating with authorities and gathering rubbish daily.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Rubbish clogs canal in Chamkarmon district’s Phsar Doeum Thkov commune. Hong Menea

“We will keep going until all the rubbish is removed from the sewer. We don’t how long it will take. And if while we collect the rubbish people continue to throw more into the sewer, we will just persevere and keep cleaning and collecting,” Veasna said.

Duong Chansarath, the director of the Sewage, Pumping and Treatment Unit at the Phnom Penh Municipal Department of Public Works and Transport, expressed his support for the youths’ activities. He said he wished to see more young people join in the effort.

He said the work they were carrying out not only helps government officials who have a duty to stamp out littering but also helps raise awareness for the general public to properly dispose of rubbish in the bins that have been placed throughout the city.

“It sends a message to everyone in the city, but especially people who live alongside the sewer – and other sewers in Phnom Penh – to dispose of rubbish properly in the bins. I hope [the volunteers] don’t stop what they’re doing."

“I have been instructing people since 1990 and I have spoken about littering at schools – and continue to do so. But clearly, people still don’t understand as littering continues,” Chansarath said.

According to the Phnom Penh Municipal Department of Public Works and Transport, more than 10,000 tonnes of rubbish a year are thrown into the sewers.

MOST VIEWED

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    The Ministry of Health has issued a directive on the treatment of people who have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, following a suggestion from Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of January 21. The directive permits home quarantine for those who

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • Demining rat ‘hero’ Magawa dead at 8

    A landmine-hunting rat that was awarded a gold medal for heroism for clearing ordnance from the Cambodian countryside has died, his charity said on January 11. Magawa, a giant African pouched rat originally from Tanzania, helped clear mines from about 225,000sqm of land – the equivalent of 42

  • Hun Sen gets 4th Covid shot, urges compatriots to follow

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany on January 14 received their fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine and called on compatriots to follow suit as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread in the community. This marks the launch of Cambodia's fourth-dose vaccination campaign,

  • Fourth dose Covid booster drive jabs 43K in two days

    In the first two days of the fourth-dose Covid-19 vaccination campaign, more than 43,000 people volunteered to get the jabs, while over 4.6 million people have received a third shot. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said that fourth-dose vaccinations, which began on January 14 exclusively with the Pfizer