Authorities in Takeo province’s Samrong district said at least five tonnes of rubbish are collected each day and burned in incinerators north of Phnom Chisor as efforts continue to educate people in the community on sanitation and the payment of waste collection fees.

District governor Ket Mao said on April 6 that rubbish has been transported to the incinerator located 6km north of the mountain daily since the beginning of January 2022.

He said the Ministry of Environment had provided another rubbish collection truck in early January after providing four trucks last year.

The dump sites were originally in Khvav, Boeung Tranh Kang Choeung and BoeungTranh Kang Tbong communes along National Road 3. But now the locations have been expanded to some parts of National Road 2 in the same district.

“We’re burning at least five tonnes of waste every day because Samrong district has development projects such as factories, shops, growing population, resorts and other sources which all create a lot of rubbish,” he said.

He added that the district authorities have been continuing to educate people about community hygiene and sanitation so that they better understand and help maintain environmental cleanliness by paying rubbish collection fees which they often seem reluctant to do.

“We also do not want to force them to do it because at this stage that isn’t possible. So we just spread the word about it through education,” he said.

Heng Yonkura, executive director of the Community Sanitation and Processing Organisation, said on April 6 that his group had encouraged the collection of rubbish in the communes and districts for a long time but the authorities lacked funds, though it was a good sign that they were able to do it now.

However, he said that although incineration was a solution, it was an imperfect one because the ash can flow back into rivers, lakes, canals, and the sea if not stored properly, especially in the rainy season.

“It will flow ... and then penetrate the soil so it can be more damaging than solid rubbish because it also contains mercury once we burn it down to ash,” he said.

Ket Mao said that before the environment ministry installed the incinerator, they had already inspected the environmental impacts. The ministry said the incinerator must be at least 1.5km away from any schools or hospitals.

“But now, if we measure the distance, it is up to 6km from the schools and more than 7km from a pagoda. If we compare distances to residential houses, it is more than 3km. So we don’t think it will harm the environment,” he said.