A village chief at the Boeng Kak lake tourist area said Tuesday that he has repeatedly urged the Phnom Penh Hotel to prevent its waste water from overflowing into the backpacker area during heavy rains, but to no avail.
Tan Kimlai, executive assistant manager at the 400-room hotel, denied any such complaints had been received. Although some of the hotel’s waste may float down the flooded road during rains, he said, the same is true for all businesses situated around the lake.
Chan Soreya, chief of Village Six in Daun Penh district’s Srah Chak commune, said that during heavy rains, the hotel’s drainage system, which runs to the lake under the road leading to the main tourist strip, overflows and mixes with flood water.
“We complained to the Phnom Penh Hotel more than 20 times,” Chan Soreya said. “The villagers’ complaints have been ignored,” he said, adding that excrement, food waste and condoms can sometimes be seen floating in the flood water.
Tan Kimlai said waste overflows from his hotel and other businesses during heavy rains because there is simply nowhere else for it to go.
“We don’t want anything to negatively affect our neighbors and the environment,” he said.
During heavy rain on Saturday, however, waste could be seen overflowing from the hotel’s sewage system and mixing with rainwater that flowed into the tourist area.
Residents and businesses located along Boeng Kak’s main strip said they were fed up with the fetid streams of waste.
Chhaiden Phou, 24, assistant manager of the LC Standard Exchange, said businesses and residents have repeatedly complained to village and commune officials, but have not seen any change.
Commune chief Chhay Thirith said that he had received no complaints, but would investigate.
Pa Socheatvong, deputy Phnom Penh governor, said he believes the waste water has nothing to do with the hotel, but is an indicator that the area needs to be developed.
“That’s what happens to squatter areas,” he said. “That’s why the city needs to manage the area with a development plan.”