Daun Penh district governor Sok Sambath on Friday said that the rubbish problem around the district’s busy Kandal Market was harming the area’s reputation and that authorities would target illegal trash disposal.
“If the foreigners see this trash… they will be embarrassed for you,” Mr Sambath said in a speech to an audience of about 500 mostly young people who marched around the district to promote proper garbage disposal.
“Pay attention to this issue, and join together. Right now, the only problem we have is trash. Public order is better, and acceptable, but trash is not acceptable,” he said, adding that Phnom Penh residents caught dumping their trash incorrectly will be fined up to 100,000 riel, or about $25.
The anti-litter campaign comes after the area experienced several bouts of severe flooding recently, with floodwaters taking hours to disappear from around the market. The municipality has long blamed flooding in the area on garbage-clogged drains and residents who do not use bins.
“When it rains, trash flows into the drain pipe,” said Mr Sambath, who also warned that residents in the area should be mindful of the upcoming 2012 Asean Summit, which will be held in Phnom Penh.
In an effort to reduce seasonal flooding, a $22 million Japan International Cooperation Agency project installed new drainage equipment in key Phnom Penh areas in 2010. Drains clogged by trash prevent the system from working properly.
Participants in yesterday’s march—largely students and Cambodian Red Cross Youth, municipal officials, JICA employees and workers with Cintri, Phnom Penh’s waste management company—took to the streets near Kandal market, speaking through loudspeakers and handing out fliers in an effort to explain proper garbage disposal to area residents.
Tetsuji Goto, an urban management advisor for JICA at City Hall, said that flooding in the area was directly linked to blocked drains from poor waste disposal.
He also urged Cintri to improve its garbage collection.
“This problem [has] led to a bad living environment, decline in the town’s quality and tourist industry,” he said.