Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday said Cambodia can never be a dumpsite for other country’s waste and that Cambodia is affected by other Mekong countries who dam or otherwise hurt the Mekong River.
Several unnamed foreign investors attempted to import garbage from other countries and to turn used vehicle tires into asphalt in the past, Hun Sen said, speaking at a closing ceremony for the Ministry of Environment’s annual report.
Also, he said in the past investors approached him, asking permission to begin incinerating garbage on a Cambodian island in order to generate electricity.
“We must be careful—we cannot allow our people to be tested for new technology,” the premier said. “Cambodia must not become the rubbish bin of waste disposal.”
Minister of Environment Mok Mareth said Monday during the first day of the environmental meeting that having the participation of villagers in managing forest communities was effective in preventing illegal activities in protected areas.
“Getting villagers forest land to manage will help protect the forest, Mok Mareth said. “Otherwise, more forest land will be cleared for farms.”
During Monday’s meeting, environmental rangers destroyed about 80 sawmills and 129 charcoal kilns, removed 91 poles for marking land ownership, and filed five cases alleging illegal tree cutting in provincial courts in celebration of the meeting.
Earlier in the day, during a meeting of the Mekong River Commission looking at the management of the rivers for fisheries, the prime minister also denounced unidentified “upstream” Mekong River countries for causing erosion, siltation and reducing the fish population in the Mekong.
The Ministry of Environment also plans to enlarge existing tourist attractions within protected areas to cater to environmental tourism, Mok Mareth said.
“Upstream countries affect Cambodia’s Mekong River,” he said.