Phnom Penh’s notoriously gritty streets will undergo a makeover when officials begin fining residents for throwing garbage outside of bins in three Dangkao district communes today, a municipal official said.
Municipal commune and environment department officials will patrol for litterbugs along a 3-km stretch of road going through Chaom Chao, Trapeang Krasang and Samraong Krom communes as part of a pilot project to get garbage off the city’s streets.
First- and second-time offenders will only be punished with a trip to commune offices for education; but starting with the third offense, littering will be punished with a $2.50 fine, Phnom Penh Environment Deputy Director Chieng Ang said Sunday.
“We do not want to fine those poor people, but we have to be strict with them,” Chieng Ang said. “Otherwise we cannot clean up our city.”
The fine is in accordance with environmental law by order of the ministries of Interior and Environment, he added.
“The fining policy is just used to warn people to stop throwing rubbish along the streets since we have already put 10 rubbish bins along that road,” Chieng Ang said. “We need to change our people’s attitudes to love and care for the environment by keeping rubbish in the bins.”
Chaom Chao commune Chief Soth Sath said each commune would send five officials to implement the pilot project, adding that the fines collected would be evenly split between the communes and the national budget.
Dangkao district Deputy Governor Keo Sophea said that officials had completed a three-day campaign to meet with vendors along the street—where dozens of garment factories are located—to educate people about using trash bins.
“We distributed educational leaflets to drivers and passengers, and we talked to other vendors and local people face-to-face because we need those people to understand that keeping rubbish in bins is very important for both the society’s beauty and people’s health,” Keo Sophea said.