The 1River Music Festival is to be held in front of the Ministry of Environment from Sunday until Tuesday.
The three-day concert will coincide with next week’s Water Festival when millions of visitors will descend on Phnom Penh for the annual celebrations.
“We want to use the occasion of the Water Festival to educate people on the environmental devastation caused by plastic bags, reduce their use, and instil in them the spirit of conservation through music,” ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra said at a press conference on Wednesday.
Pheaktra, who is also secretary of state, reiterated that plastic bags were a grave ecological concern and that investors were encouraged to process bags from raw, natural materials to better serve consumers and the Earth.
Around 10 million plastic bags are used in Phnom Penh every day, said New York-based Acra Foundation.
Around 90 per cent of the world’s plastics wind up in oceans, mostly through just 10 major rivers, including the Mekong River, said the UN Development Programme (UNDP).
Cambodian-American singer-songwriter Laura Mam is among the artists set to take the stage during the two-day music festival. She told The Post she hoped the performances would spur young people to become actively engaged in conservation and clean-up efforts.
“Concerts and art performances have a way of encouraging people and conveying messages in powerful ways and I hope it will be the case for the fans that join us this Water Festival.
“We’re treating it as an opportunity to address their attitudes and habits to inspire them to love the natural world and to foster a more beautiful and tidy Kingdom which can be a source of national pride,” Mam said.
The 1River Music Festival is to be organised with the cooperation of various development partners, local NGOs and some private firms.
UNDP resident representative Nick Beresford told The Post that hazardous plastic waste was a pressing concern for Cambodia, particularly after it was revealed that 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic are used each year globally, while Cambodian cities produce more than four million tonnes of plastic waste each year.
“The reduction in plastic waste is a challenge as the habit of throwing away plastic bags is difficult to change as they are cheap, cannot be used for a long time and are easily accessible to most people. Even a cup of coffee merits a plastic bag sometimes,” he said.