Rubbish burning becomes a burning issue

Rubbish burning becomes a burning issue

Khmer resident Seng Bun Korn has spoken out about people burning rubbish in front of their houses as a rubbish disposal method, a practice which he says is deleterious to both health and the environment.

Seng Bun Korn, 77, of Slo Kram village is now retired. He worked for the National Bank of Cambodia in Phnom Penh and left for France and then Canada before the Khmer Rouge regime. But he returned to Cambodia and built a house in Siem Reap in 2004.
He lives behind Baray Andet cinema and said that rubbish burning is something everyone is talking about now.

“Waste burning might be an expedient way of cleaning up dump areas, but after repeated fires, it pollutes the air and the ground as well as being hazardous for human health,” he said.

Seng Bun Korn, 77, worries about waste burning in Siem Reap.
Seng Bun Korn, 77, worries about waste burning in Siem Reap. Thik Kaliyann

He added that every day at dawn, a poisonous haze rises above Siem Reap. Instead of taking a breath of healthy morning air, local and tourists alike choke over acrid smoke rising from hundreds of small fires burning garbage.

“The villagers normally burn rubbish including plastic bags which badly affects the environment. It’s difficult for me to take a breath of fresh air here in my village,” he said.

“They burn anything and everything – cans, plastic and plastic bags. I hate the smell of burning plastic, and some days I have to absorb the polluted smoke for almost eight hours. It seriously affects everyone’s health.”

He has taken action and now explains to villagers the threats created by burning rubbish. He said, “Most of them didn’t acknowledge the wider issues of public health and environmental damage caused by waste burning. When they burn rubbish I go there, explain the problems to them and I will take water to put out the fire. Most of them understand what I mean and they stop doing it.”

Many villagers love to burn their rubbish in front of their houses as they think it is an easier method of rubbish disposal.
Many villagers love to burn their rubbish in front of their houses as they think it is an easier method of rubbish disposal. Thik Kaliyann

But he added that residents and the authorities must act together to solve the problem.

He said that the more visible culprits are property developers who burn mounds of accumulated rubbish because they are eager to sell land without having to pay for garbage removal.

He also says the fallout from burning rubbish will damage the temples.

“Smoke particles drifting over the Angkor monuments will settle on them, and during the rainy season these particles will turn to acid, attacking the stone reliefs and destroying them forever,” he said.

He also appeals to the authorities to educate people about the advantages of waste recycling, especially plastic. “I believe in the future we can recycle waste and reuse it, rather than burn it,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom lacks up to 400MW in available electricity’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the general public, hoteliers and businesspeople with generators to use them as back-up as the Electricity Authority of Cambodia cannot generate enough electricity to meet needs due to low water levels in power station reservoirs. On Saturday evening

  • Sor Chandeth defends his criticism of Hun Sen

    Former senator Sor Chandeth has defended his choice of words when criticising Hun Sen, saying he was merely speaking metaphorically to attack the Prime Minister’s political life, not his actual person, as the latter seeks damages. [img] Chandeth spoke to The Post on Thursday,

  • South Korea’s Moon arrives in Kingdom for state visit

    South Korean president Moon Jae-in and his wife arrived in Phnom Penh on Thursday at the start of a three-day state visit to Cambodia to strengthen ties and further the friendship between the two countries. After arriving at the Phnom Penh International Airport in the

  • 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