Authorities in Kep town said they stopped the dumping of 112 tons of spoiled fish, rice, soybean and corn powder belonging to the World Food Program that was being unloaded on a hillside in the coastal town.
“We did not allow the WFP to dump waste at that location because Kep province is a tourist area. It would affect our tourism and visitors,” Kep City Governor Ngin Nginda said yesterday, adding that the canned fish and other spoiled food stuff was escorted by police back to the WFP’s Phnom Penh warehouse.
Mr Nginda said that police intervened to prevent the waste disposal and that the WFP trucks, which had traveled through Monday night to reach Kep city, were ordered to drive back to the capital at 4 pm yesterday. The hillside was not a dumpsite, he said.
“We…sent them back to their origin in Phnom Penh after we finishing a report,” Mr Nginda said.
Kep Provincial Governor Has Saret said all food aid was past its expiry date.
WFP Deputy Country Director Kenneth Crossley declined to answer questions by telephone yesterday but later issued a statement regarding the dumping incident.
According to Mr Crossley, the WFP had contracted a private company to carry out the waste disposal and that the company, whose name Mr Crossley would not divulge, was responsible for the deciding where the 112 tons of waste was to be dumped.
“In compliance with inspector recommendations, prioritizing safety, WFP followed established procedures to dispose of the consignment,” Mr Crossley wrote.
“The choice of location is made by the contracted firm…. WFP has requested the disposal firm to suspend all activity while we examine claims raised in the media regarding the proposed disposal site,” he said.
“Cases such as these are very very rare.”
(Additional reporting Alice Foster)