Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Preah Sihanouk governor warns coal plant may be shut down

Preah Sihanouk governor warns coal plant may be shut down

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Preah Sihanouk provincial governor Yun Min leads a working group of technical experts during an inspectiion of a coal plant in Stung Hav district’s Otres commune. kim sambath via facebook

Preah Sihanouk governor warns coal plant may be shut down

Preah Sihanouk provincial governor Yun Min on Monday warned that a coal plant in Stung Hav district’s Otres commune might be closed after 42 families complained against the factory.

The villagers who live near the plant expressed concern that the clouds of dust resulting from the factory’s activities might have compromised their health.

Min on Monday said the plant was authorised to operate by the Ministry of Industry and Handcraft, after leading a working group comprising technical experts, among others, during an inspection to the factory.

A representative from the plant promised to prepare a technical plan to solve the problem, Min said.

He said the working group had agreed to allow some time for the representative to prepare the plan to address the problem.

“We gave them [the plant] another few months to improve the [environmental] situation. If it does not comply with the instructions, we will stop its operations or force it to relocate far away from the villagers’ houses,” Min stressed.

The governor continued that solving the problem would create a win-win situation for both the company and the villagers.

“The company will continue profiting from their business and the villagers will have jobs and better health,” he said.

Khiev Vuthy, a representative of the families, said the plant had been impacting their health since it began operations in 2013, yet most of them remained “in their native village” but “had to endure the problem every day”.

The villagers, he said, had filed multiple complaints to the commune and district authorities and addressed the matter directly to the plant, but to no avail.

Vuthy said some villagers, at one point, “fell sick one by one due to the dust cloud”.

The incident forced the community to file a complaint to the provincial authority and asked them to visit the site directly.

“Young or old . . . almost all fell sick. I have yet to get myself checked. Overall, the situation is very difficult due to the dust cloud coming from the plant,” he stressed.

Similarly, provincial environment department director Samuth Sothearith said on Tuesday that the plant representative agreed to prepare a technical strategy to prevent the dust cloud from infiltrating people’s houses.

“We will also hold a public forum so the villagers can express their opinions and make inquiries to speed up the creation of solutions to this matter,” Sothearith said.

Sok Sokhom, the director of the Cambodian National Research Organisation, said he hoped that “national and sub-national level officials would urge the plant owner to relocate far from a residential area”.

“Preparing the technical strategy [might] take months to complete. The problem [of dust clouds compromising people’s health] will carry on in the meantime,” Sokhom stressed.

Neither the plant owner nor any of its representatives could be reached on Tuesday for clarification on the matter.

However, the plant manager – Chen Song – was quoted by the provincial administration as saying that it was producing 100 tonnes of fine aggregate from treated coal waste every day.

Speaking on behalf of the factory, he promised to minimise the occurrence of dust clouds during the process so as not to compromise the villagers’ health.

“We will seek measures to reduce the dust without impacting the environment and the welfare of our people who live around my plant,” Song stressed.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia rejects UN rights claim

    Cambodia's Permanent Mission to the UN Office in Geneva on Friday hit back at David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression after he raised concerns over the repression of free speech and

  • Snaring may spawn diseases

    The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has warned that snaring of animals has become a crisis that poses a serious risk to wildlife in Southeast Asia and could spawn the transmission of zoonotic diseases to humans. Its July 9 report entitled Silence of the Snares: Southeast Asia’

  • Ex-party leader, gov’t critic named as secretary of state

    A former political party leader known for being critical of the government has been appointed secretary of state at the Ministry of Rural Development, a royal decree dated July 9 said. Sourn Serey Ratha, the former president of the Khmer Power Party (KPP), told The Post

  • Residence cards set for over 80,000 immigrants

    The Ministry of Interior plans to grant residence cards to more than 80,000 immigrants to better keep track of them. The ministry announced the plan on July 10, following the results of an immigration census. “An inter-ministerial committee and many operational working groups have been set up

  • Kingdom, US vow stronger ties

    At an academic forum on Saturday to celebrate 70 years of Cambodia-US diplomatic ties, Cambodian researchers and officials expressed hope of encouraging US investments and for that country to deepen and improve its bilateral relations. Held at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, it reviewed the past 70

  • Fifteen Cambodians from Saudi get Covid-19

    The Ministry of Health on Sunday confirmed 15 more imported cases of Covid. The 15 men ‒ all Cambodian aged 21 to 33 ‒ arrived from Saudi Arabia on Friday via a connecting flight in Malaysia. They were travelling with 79 other passengers, three of them women. The ministry said 80 of the

  • Ministry requests school opening

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Thursday said it would request a decision from Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow a small number of schools to reopen next month. Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said if the request is granted, higher-standard schools will reopen

  • Kingdom eyes India FTA, China deal set for August

    Cambodia is studying the possibility of establishing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with India to open a new market with the second-largest regional economy. This comes as an FTA with China is scheduled to be signed next month while similar negotiations with South Korea

  • Judge lands in court after crashing into alleged thief

    Sen Sok district police on Thursday sent a Koh Kong Provincial Court judge to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on manslaughter charges after he crashed his car into a woman riding a motorbike on Wednesday, killing her. District police chief Hour Meng Vang told The

  • Vietnamese workers in Koh Kong questioned

    The General Department of Immigration (GDI) is questioning 49 Vietnamese nationals who were working illegally in Koh Kong province to build a case and send them back to Vietnam, its Department of Investigation and Procedure director Kem Sarin said on Thursday. GDI forces and provincial authorities