More Cigarette-Butt ‘Fertilizer’ Seized in Country’s Northwest

More than 19 tons of imported “fertilizer” made of cigarette butts was found in Oddar Meanchey province last week following the discovery of 10 tons of the substance in Siem Reap province just days earlier, officials said Sunday.

Oddar Meanchey provincial environment department director Ngor Hour said his officials found the fake fertilizer—which turned out to be made of used cigarette butts—in three locations in central Anlong Veng district on Thursday after a tip-off from the Environment Ministry.

“We found the fertilizer in three locations in the same village, totaling 19.5 tons,” he said. “Based on the license, the company is supposed to import natural fertilizer, but when it arrived, it turned out to be cigarette butts.”

Mr. Hour said the fake fertilizer was imported from Europe by the Pen Lim Trading Group and that the agriculture and environment ministries were examining the butts to see what else they might contain.

“I have never seen them use cigarette butts to make fertilizer before and I don’t know what they want to use all of these for,” he said. “Now we are not allowing them to move it, while two ministries are working to find out what impact it has, and we will decide later.”

Environment Ministry spokesman Sao Sopheap said his ministry had received a sample of the butts from Anlong Veng but had not yet completed its analysis.

“I have not received any of the results yet and the technicians are working on this now,” he said.

Anlong Veng commune police chief Vong Tann said 15.5 tons of the fake fertilizer was seized from a man named Kang Veng Seang, who had transported it to Anlong Veng from Preah Sihanouk province.

“Now we cannot confirm whether it is fertilizer that complies to standards or is fake fertilizer. We have to wait for the results of the inspection by the agriculture department,” he said.

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