Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Plastic-for-rice scheme expanding

Plastic-for-rice scheme expanding

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
People from the Chong Kneas floating community on Tonle Sap Lake collecting waste in June 2022. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Plastic-for-rice scheme expanding

The Ministry of Environment intends to push for the expansion of a plastic-for-rice exchange project for floating villages, especially those living on the waters of the Tonle Sap Lake.

Ministry secretary of state Neth Pheaktra explained that Cambodia has some of the highest figures for fish consumption per capita in the world, with each person consuming an average of 50 to 100 kg per year.

“If fish eat plastics and people eat fish, they will end up with high levels of microplastics in their bodies. To address this problem, we began this project in 2018,” he said.

“The idea of exchanging floating plastic waste for rice was first implemented in Siem Reap, in collaboration with the Bamboo Vine Fund. We intend to push to launch the project on other communities,” he added.

The project encourages people to store their plastic waste, and collect any that they find in the water. They are then able to exchange it for milled rice and other daily necessities. The project is so far in place among the Chong Kneas, Kampong Khleang, Kampong Phluk, Mechrey, and Boeung Pearang floating communities in Siem Reap province.

“If the people keep their plastic waste they collect, including from their own households and the rubbish they collect from the lake, rather than throwing it into the water, they can exchange it for rice, soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic and so on. This makes economic sense for them and educates them about the long-term effects of plastic waste,” said Pheaktra.

“Educating the people on Tonle Sap is very important because the lake is the Kingdom’s most important source of protein,” he added.

He continued that the plastic-for-rice exchange project also helped to protect the precious biodiversity of the lake. The ministry also urged members of the floating communities to convert some of their homes into guesthouses to generate an alternative income stream.

In an average year, it is estimated that the project results in a reduction of about 100 tonnes of plastic waste entering the lake. The expansion of the project will include many of the tributaries that flow into the lake during the rainy season.


  • Five-year-old Hanuman dances his way into hearts of Cambodia

    A young talent from a new-established settlement has emerged, captivating the online world with his mesmerising performances of the traditional Cambodian monkey dance. Roeun Kakada is a five-year-old prodigy who has taken the social media sphere by storm with his exceptional dance skills and dedication

  • Fresh Covid warnings as Thai hospital fills

    A senior health official reminds the public to remain vigilant, as neighbouring countries experience an increase in Covid-19 cases, with the latest surge appearing to be a result of the Omicron XBB.1.5 sub-variant. Or Vandine, secretary of state and spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health,

  • Honda shutters Siem Reap football club

    Japanese football legend Keisuke Honda, the owner of Siem Reap football club Soltilo Angkor FC, has been forced to shut the club down, after it failed to attract sponsorship for the upcoming season. Honda, the former manager of the Cambodia men's national football team, said

  • Hun Sen warns of regional tensions

    ASIA is becoming a dangerous geopolitical hotspot, with several countries announcing that they intend to send naval vessels towards Southeast Asia and on to the South China Sea, warned Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Heated geopolitical issues can easily escalate, namely to war. I am not

  • PM declares ASEAN Para Games open

    The 12th ASEAN Para Games officially kicked off on the evening of June 3 at Morodok Techo National Stadium in Phnom Penh, with a spectacular opening ceremony featuring fireworks and performances by some of the Kingdom’s most accomplished talents. Tens of thousands of sports fans

  • Waterway job still pending for Kampot tourism port’s opening

    The search is still on for a contractor to expand and deepen the Kampot International Tourism Port’s waterway and deliver additional enhancements allowing safe access for larger vessels, nearly a year after the main construction work on the 4.25ha site was completed on June 30, 2022.