The World Bank (WB) has approved a $60 million International Development Association credit to support the improvement of Cambodia’s solid and plastic waste management.

The project will be co-financed by a grant from the PROBLUE Trust Fund, to the amount of $3 million.

In a May 11 press release, the World Bank described how economic growth, urbanisation and tourism have led to a substantial increase in solid waste and the use of plastics in Cambodia in recent years.

“As a result of low collection rates and inadequate treatment and disposal of waste, the dumping of waste and plastics in the environment and waterways, street littering, as well as the practice of burning garbage, have become widespread. In addition, inadequate regulatory frameworks, policies, and enabling conditions are limiting the effectiveness of waste management efforts,” it said.

“The government has placed the improvement of solid waste and plastic management increasingly high on the national agenda, as stated in the Municipal Solid Waste Management Policy 2020-2030. Enhancing the effectiveness, transparency, and accountability of waste services and management is an important priority,” said Interior minister Sar Kheng as quoted in the press release.

The proposed project will support the government’s efforts to strengthen its institutional capacity for solid waste and plastic management at the national and sub-national level. It will also enhance the performance of the private sector in waste services and improve waste fee systems, in order to support solid waste operations that are environmentally, financially, and socially sustainable, added the World Bank release.

The project design incorporates qualifying criteria for municipalities for participation in the project and to ensure the readiness of participating municipalities to sustain investments.

Maryam Salim, World Bank country manager for Cambodia, said that improving solid waste and plastic management is critical for the Kingdom’s economic and social development, including its tourism sector.

“Marine plastic pollution is a transboundary issue, and this will support marine plastic solutions at the national level,” she added.

“The project will provide greater access for households to regular waste collection. Through increased landfill, recycling, and composting capacity, there will be positive impacts on public health, the environment, and tourism,” she concluded.

The project will be implemented by the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, together with the pertinent sub-national administrations.