In recent months, residents of Battambang town who drink or bathe in the Sangke river, which runs through the city, have fallen ill with skin diseases and diarrhea.
Sin Thol, 29, of Battambang district’s Chamkar Samroang commune, said his three children contracted scaly rashes after bathing in the Sangke.
Another villager, Soth Thy, a 37-year-old noodle seller, says he is losing customers because people don’t dare eat his home-made noodles, which he prepares with river water.
“I want the provincial authorities and the government to solve the problem of the polluted water,” Soth Thy said.
Villagers and officials say raw sewage from residential areas of western Battambang town is released directly into the Sangke, causing the river to become murky and rank.
Last week, Chhay Yuob, director of the provincial Environment Department, said he visited the town’s sewage treatment plant in June and saw raw waste flow into the Sangke river.
The provincial Public Works Department releases polluted water into the river because it cannot afford petrol to pump sewage to the treatment area in Chamkar Samroang commune, Khan Mannea, the department’s deputy director, said Monday.
The problem is especially bad on rainy days, said Buth Kimsea, another deputy director at the department.
“During the heavy rains, we must release it into the Sangke river otherwise the town will be flooded for a few hours,” he said.