Phnom Penh City Hall on Tuesday announced plans to deploy 60 hand-pushed trash trolleys across the city’s parks this week, with operators authorized to ticket litterbugs.
Deputy municipal governor Ing Aunny said the city intended to use the “mobile trash bins” to not only beautify the city, but also employ homeless people detained at Phnom Penh’s notorious Prey Speu center.
“The important thing is we want to find ways to help in many sectors. We want to help hygiene and the environment and we also want to help the unemployed and homeless people,” he said.
Mr. Aunny said the city had not yet worked out how the homeless recruits would be paid, but he was effusive about the mobile bins’ superiority over their stationary counterparts—both practically and aesthetically.
“[Stationary trash cans] seem like a dead thing; we want to give them life by having someone pushing them, and to show their beauty,” he said of the green metal bins.
“Putting trash in a bin is difficult and people do not want to put their hands into the bins because it smells bad…. And when we remove the bins, empty them and put them back it takes time.”
Am Sam Ath, technical supervisor for rights group Licadho, which has criticized the detention of homeless people at Prey Speu as unlawful, said as long as recruitment from the center was voluntary it represented a move forward.
“It is a good thing to create careers for them,” he said. “If it works it will be a good thing.”
A City Hall Facebook post on Tuesday said the cart pushers would be given the authority to fine those who were caught littering “uncontrollably,” though the monetary value of the fine was not disclosed.
While people interviewed at some of Phnom Penh’s parks on Tuesday welcomed the mobile trash cans, views on the prospect of being fined for littering were more mixed.
Suos Choranay, 21, a drinks seller at Wat Botum Park, said she was worried that if someone dropped trash near her workplace she would be fined.
“I don’t think they need to give a fine because when we are busy selling and do not look, someone might drop trash nearby and the agent will come and fine us,” she said. “I did not do it, but if they find it near me I will become a
Lay Theary, 51, who was sitting in Hun Sen Park, said those who littered should be named and shamed.
“There should be a fine for those who do not properly dispose of their trash and they should also have their pictures taken and shown on TV in order to make them learn a lesson and warn others away from doing this.”