The Ministry of Environment and the Siem Reap Provincial Administration on June 7 signed an agreement for a project to reduce plastic waste in the country’s main tourist attraction. The project will apply the 4Rs principle – refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle – to manage the removal of plastic waste from the land and water.
The signing of the agreement was presided over by Kith Chan Krisna, adviser to environment minister Say Sam Al; deputy provincial governor Ngan Phirun; and environmental experts of the UN Development Programme (UNDP).
Phirun said the provincial administration is currently organising resources from development partners and requesting town and district administrations to apply solid waste management functions in accordance with Sub-Decree No 113 on urban solid waste management to develop the attractiveness, well-being and quality of the environment in the province.
“This agreement will contribute to the reduction and prevention of plastic waste by using the 4Rs principle,” he said.
He said that previously, Siem Reap received three incinerators, six tricycles and two large garbage trucks from the ministry. China’s Yunnan province also donated three road cleaning vehicles.
“We hope that this project will reduce plastic waste through awareness and distribution of information about plastic waste to encourage people to use alternative products to plastic,” he said.
According to the provincial administration, the project includes a feasibility study and programme to increase garbage collection services, cleaning, and transportation as well as solving waste build up.
There are also plans to provide rubbish bins and establish billboards to reduce the use of plastic and increase awareness.
Environment ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra said the ministry is implementing a project to provide cars and motorbikes to transport garbage and waste storage equipment to the capital and provincial administrations to facilitate the collection, cleaning and transportation of solid waste.
“The delivery of garbage trucks and motorbikes to the provincial authorities also contributes to the expansion of self-collection services in the capital and provinces to have a clean environment, timely garbage collection and ensure sustainability and operation and also self-management of waste in the areas under their control,” he said.
Regarding waste management, Banteay Srei district governor Khim Finan has used the “self-managed community” formula to help people successfully apply local waste management to Preah Dak village from the beginning of the year until the end of May. He is planning to expand this project to other villages and districts.
Hem Udom, an environmental expert, said to reduce plastic use effectively, it must be start at the sub-national level to the people in villages and communes, but the government must have a clear budget plan.
“People still need to be educated about the programme through the Ministry of Environment or through local officials. This responsibility cannot just be passed on to waste collection companies or a person in charge. We, as citizens, must join together,” he said.