How Cambodia Could Win a War on Plastics

There are some basic steps that could go a long way in helping the country address a serious issue.

Cambodia faces a monumental plastic problem, which is a subset of a problem with recycling in general. By one estimate, from 2015, urban-living Cambodians each use about 2,000 plastic bags annually, 10 times more than Europeans or Chinese, while 10 million plastic bags are used just in Phnom Penh alone each day. A recent photo-essay depicts the literal and figurative mess.

What the government has done, so far, is paltry at best and indifferent at worst. Following the example of other countries, a regulation passed by the Ministry of Environment last year means that customers now have to pay $0.10 for a bag. But this is only really applied in a handful of expensive supermarkets, where most people don’t shop at.

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