Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol touted the establishment of 12 water treatment systems and seven dumpsites across major Cambodian towns over the past five years, with more still in the pipeline.

In a video interview on the ministry’s social media platform on July 9, Chanthol celebrated the flourish of sewer systems and wastewater filtration infrastructure within the last half-decade, attesting to the ministry’s efforts in construction, restoration and rehabilitation.

“For the past five years, we’ve been committed to constructing wastewater treatment facilities, sewers, and landfills,” the minister stated, reinforcing his commitment to environmental improvement.

He highlighted Sihanoukville, where a 16ha wastewater filtration system operates, processing up to 7,000 cubic metres of wastewater daily. Yet, due to the province’s swift expansion, further wastewater filtration systems are necessary.

“We’ve renovated existing systems and devised a master plan for further installations in Sihanoukville, made possible with funding from our friend, China. Currently, we’re scrutinising the plan’s details and recruiting a construction firm,” Chanthol explained.

“In our initial phase, we managed 40,000 cubic metres per day. In the subsequent phase, we doubled this capacity and aim to achieve a daily output of 160,000 cubic metres as the town thrives,” he added.

Regarding sewer systems, Chanthol expressed gratitude for the collective efforts with development partners including the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and South Korea, which have resulted in many new sewer systems in Siem Reap province.

River Ocean Cleanup’s executive director, Nou Sovann, on July 9 acknowledged the Ministry of Public Works and Transport’s effort in creating these facilities across provinces and their substantial improvement.

“Observably, Kep town boasts a modernised dumpsite. The existence of such facilities nationwide could substantially manage provincial garbage,” Sovann noted.

He continued: “Especially, town-based wastewater systems in Cambodia are crucial to prevent wastewater from contaminating rivers, seas, and lakes, thereby safeguarding the environment”.

Sovann added that while the government’s diligent work in building the systems and dumpsites is commendable, their efficacy will be hindered if people fail to dispose of garbage correctly.

This reminds us that the solution to wastewater problems requires not just infrastructural upgrades, but also a change in public habits.