For two years, heavy trucks have been speeding back and forth to pits in Russei Keo district, filling up with dirt and returning to building sites throughout the city to unload their landfill cargo.
The trucks, working 12-hour days, have raised storms of dust that have engulfed villagers’ homes and contaminated the air they breathe, villagers say.
Fed up and frustrated, some 400 people from Tropeang Rang Thmei village—the closest to the pits—sent a complaint to their district officials and Khmuonh commune authorities two weeks ago, asking them to stop the trucks, which are operated by the Nheik Phon-99 company.
Village chief Chea Sophal said the issue was also raised at a commune council meeting, but villagers are still waiting for responses.
Children have fallen sick with respiratory illnesses and villagers’ rice fields near the pit, which is now close to 30-meters deep, have started to collapse into it, said Moeun Yan, deputy chief of Anlong Kra Ngan village.
“[The company] doesn’t care about our living and health conditions,” he said.
Nheik Phon, director of the landfill company, said his trucks don’t make the dust fly as much as people in Samrong and the two other villages claim.
He admitted that his trucks have badly damaged a local road, donated by the Vietnamese government and known as Hanoi Boulevard.
Nheik Phon, however, prom-ised that his company will repair the road and will also pave a 500-meter stretch that passes through the affected villages. “It is my promise and I will discuss the problem with the Phnom Penh Governor [Kep Chuk-tema],” Nheik Phon added.
District Deputy Governor Khouk Slas said he passed on the villagers’ complaint to Russei Keo district governor Klaing Huot, who is currently accompanying Kep Chuktema on a trip to Vietnam.
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