Industrial pollution “hot spots” have been identified in waterways in Phnom Penh, Kandal and Kompong Cham provinces following a five-month period of research as part of a UN-backed effort to encourage companies to adopt cleaner practices.
The hot spots—defined as a source of pollution where industrial waste can be discharged into a river directly or through sewage systems that drain into lakes, then rivers—were highlighted between May and September in a bid to promote eco-friendliness.
Sokchea Hak, a project coordinator for the UN Industrial Development Organization (Unido), said the hot spots were found “where most industry is located,” but that “water quality [in the area] is still in good shape.”
Tung Ciny, the deputy director for the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy, said that if factories fail to take their toxic waste seriously, “we will fine them according to the law, or they will be temporarily shut down.”
Mr Ciny was speaking yesterday at the launch of a four-day workshop organized by Unido and the ministry aimed at training members of the industrial sector to implement new practices to maximize economic and environmental benefits.
Unido and the ministry are now trying to encourage enterprises, particularly garment, food processing, paper and tannery factories, to implement a Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technologies, which can reduce the discharge of industrial waste, improving water quality in an area, while improving economic performance.
Jerome Stucki, an industrial development officer at Unido’s Vienna-based water management unit, said the aim of the project was not to encourage the construction of water treatment plants; rather, to “change processes within the industry.”
Choun Ny, representing the Asia Carton factory in Phnom Penh, said it was the first time her company had received waste-control training, adding that discharges “still have chemicals, but at least the toxic level [can be reduced].”