The Ministry of Environment provided 8 billion riel ($1.95 million) per year from 2015-2022 for solid waste management improvements and urban rubbish pickup in 28 towns and districts across the country.

Overall, Cambodia now produces more than 10,000 tonnes of solid waste and rubbish per day, or some four million tonnes per year – representing a 10-12 per cent increase year on year in the amount of rubbish produced by towns and districts since just last year.

Ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra discussed the issues at a press conference on the ministry’s five-year achievements, held at the Council of Ministers on August 30.

He said the decentralisation policy constitutes a foundation for increasing local capacities, with sub-national administrations and the ministry providing technical, material and budgetary support to achieve the purpose of clean villages and living clean.

He said the “safe village-commune” policy is merely the practical implementation mechanisms to strengthen the self-reliance of the environmental sanitation work of local authorities.

“In order to ensure that downtown rubbish and solid waste management improve, we have provided a lot of budgetary resources and materials for the implementation of this work for town and district administrations.

“We have also provided an 8 billion riel environmental sanitation service budget package to each locale per year (2015-2022), amounting to 28 towns and districts and not including those in the capital. We have so far provided 56 billion riel to 28 towns and districts for them to clean up the environment,” he said.

He added that the ministry had provided town and district administrations with 58 rubbish trucks and 118 tuk-tuks, 66 incinerators, 129 water filters and 68 dustbins.

“We now produce over 10,000 tonnes of solid waste and rubbish a day, or some four million tonnes per year, of which 60 per cent is organic, 20 per cent is plastic and 10 per cent is general waste,” he said.

Pheaktra continued that the growth of town-district waste generation stood at 10-12 per cent a year, and only about 50 per cent of it was collected and dumped at dumpsites and the rest landed everywhere else, such as in bodies of water, other than the portion that was incinerated.

“In a day, we collect and dump about 6,000 tonnes of waste into the dumpsites, or about 2,013, 924 tonnes a year,” he said.

He noted that there are a total of 213 landfills nationwide, of which 142 belong to the state while 70 are privately owned.

He added that the study on preparing new landfills in the Asian Development Bank (ADB) loan project listed three dumpsites in Kampong Cham, Kampong Thom and Stung Treng provinces and seven dumpsites under construction in Kampot, Kep, Battambang, Pursat, Kratie, Banteay Meanchey and Kampong Chhnang provinces.

The World Bank loan project has three dumpsites under study in Siem Reap, Kampong Speu and Kandal provinces in addition to those.

He continued that management of landfills has generally been poor except for a new dumpsite, which is sanitary, in O’Oknha Heng commune’s Otasek village of Preah Sihanouk province’s Prey Nop district.

The ministry is also continuing to promote environmentally-friendly operational principles in educational institutions, pagodas and public toilets, including the installation of water filters in schools to reduce plastic waste.

The ministry has also encouraged people to use bioplastic types of products in place of traditional plastics or even recyclable plastics because they are too often discarded rather than recycled aside from the lack of recycling facilities in developing countries.