Prime Minister Hun Sen travelled to Preah Sihanouk province to inspect its newly built roads and wastewater treatment stations before they are opened for use on December 2.
After inspecting the sites on December 1, Hun Sen said these achievements are a source of pride for all Cambodians.
“This can all be attributed to hard work. We planned responsibly, earned money and saved our money and used it to do all this work. It is the pride of all Khmer that our nation – which first had to struggle to get out from under the ash heaps – has now turned a once uninhabited city into a modern one,” he said.
The prime minister said development does not refer solely to growth. He explained that the environment has become a global issue, so modern buildings alone are not enough and that “infrastructure” does not just refer to roads anymore, it also relates to the environment.
For example, he said the new wastewater stations are built because water for a modern city must be well-managed and must be treated and cleaned before it can flow into the sea.
“If we only built new roads, clearly, the city will smell terribly and because of stagnant water containers it would be overrun by mosquitoes and there would be more diseases,” he said.
He continued that environmental issues are among the government’s top priorities and that is why the government spent hundreds of millions of dollars building these wastewater treatment stations.
“Therefore, those who come to bathe in the seas near Preah Sihanouk are not at risk of their skin mysteriously itching or encountering some terrible stench while playing in the sea. In short, necessary infrastructure today includes wastewater treatment systems prior to discharge that protect the sea, the environment and our natural marine resources,” he said.
Additionally, he pointed out that people living nearby will be able to take the treated water from the stations – which are equipped with modern German technology that will kill all germs – for free in order to irrigate crops or raise fish.
He said there are still some towns that need to have wastewater treatment plants built in them such as Koh Kong, Kampot and Kep and that the provinces along the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers also need to have them to protect the environment there as well.
Hun Sen stated that these achievements are not only for the sake of this generation of people but also for the coming generations. He said he was committed to keeping the economy growing in an environmentally sustainable manner despite having limited resources to do so.