The Ministry of Environment, in collaboration with the World Bank, is poised to launch a project aimed at managing solid and plastic waste in five provinces in the near future. Discussions are underway to expedite the project’s implementation.

This initiative arose during an October 3 working meeting between minister Eang Sophalleth and World Bank country manager Maryam Salim at the ministry headquarters in Phnom Penh.

Sophalleth outlined that this six-year undertaking will be implemented in Siem Reap, Battambang, Kandal, Kampong Speu and Preah Sihanouk provinces. The project aims to expand solid waste collection in urban areas from 45 to 75 per cent.

“The project to improve solid and plastic waste management in these five provinces is a World Bank financing project that will be implemented by three ministries: Public Works and Transport; Interior; and Environment,” he said.

He added that his ministry holds the mandate for formulating and enforcing legislation, regulations, policies and national institutional frameworks pertaining to solid waste and plastic management. Additionally, it oversees the capacity building of relevant institutions.

In alignment with these efforts, Phon Sokun, a member of the Cambodian Water Supply Association (CWA), voiced support for the project on October 4. This initiative, he said, is expected to play a pivotal role in preventing contamination in villages, curbing soil nutrient loss and reducing pollution in lakes, waterfalls, rivers and ponds across the nation.

“If solid or plastic waste infiltrates our natural water sources, it poses a significant risk of pollution, which can disrupt the production of clean water in Cambodia. I wholeheartedly endorse this project. I am optimistic that it will substantially benefit the water sector in Cambodia, notably by diminishing the operational expenses required to provide clean water for daily consumption,” he explained.

According to the environment ministry, the project will involve the establishment of solid waste landfills capable of accommodating over 3 million cubic metres of solid waste in Siem Reap, Kandal and Kampong Speu provinces.

Furthermore, the initiative aims to reduce over four million tonnes of greenhouse gases and recover resources from waste and plastics. This will be achieved by reducing the waste disposed of in landfills by five to 15 per cent.