The waste dumped into a Dangkao district rice paddy on the outskirts of Phnom Penh has been removed to an old sewage pit at the Stung Meanchey district dump, municipal officials said Tuesday.
“The sludge has already been removed,” said Dangkao District Governor Krouch Phan. “There is no longer a problem.”
Dangkao commune residents also seemed to feel better, after reporting headaches and vomiting from the waste. Krouch Phan said the waste did not threaten nearby crops or water.
Test results are not yet available. Cambodia pollution control director Heng Nareth, who sent a team to the site last week, could not be reached for comment.
The local rights group Licadho continues to monitor the area after examining residents last week, Director Eva Galabru said Tuesday. “The important thing now is to get the stuff tested,” she said. “And that’s not such an easy thing to do in Phnom Penh.”
Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara has issued a directive to all the city’s 142 factories, requiring them to treat their own waste before having it removed.
He and other municipal officials have repeatedly maintained that the city needs to find a new site with proper storage facilities for the growing amount of garbage and sewage.
“Now we have a landfill problem,” said Chiep Sivoeun, director of the municipal environment department. “Garbage and factory waste have to be properly managed.”