Villagers Fed Up With Garbage Dump Problems

Residents of three villages in Kompong Cham province’s Krala commune are growing increasingly frustrated with problems caused by a local garbage dump, saying it is a health hazard and that it emits an unpleasant odor.

Khat Seang, chief of Tuol Porpel village, said the frustration may spark protests over the weekend if no action is taken by Cintri, the waste management company in charge of the dump.

“I’ve been telling people to calm down and solve this through legal channels, but I’m afraid that they cannot stand this much longer,” he said.

Chin Nhon Lay, Krala commune chief said he had also re­ceived complaints from residents.

“People complain that the smell is horrible and that the flies are so bad they have to eat meals beneath a mosquito net. They’re also getting sick with diarrhea and flu,” he said.

Lay Vorng, Trapaing Cha village chief, said that garbage from the site was blowing into farmers’ fields and affecting their crops.

Villagers filed a petition—signed by more than 300 residents of Tuol Porpel, Trapaing Cha and Trakuon villages—with Cintri more than a month ago demanding that the dump be shut down, and met with officials last week.

The company—which already has a 49-year agreement to handle garbage collection in Phnom Penh—won the license to provide waste management services to Kompong Cham about 18 months ago, in a process in which the firm was the sole bidder, according to Lon Lim Thay, provincial deputy governor.

Vice chairman of Cintri Seng Chamreon apologized Thursday for the problems but said some stemmed from unavoidable damage to the walls of the dump caused by recent storms.

“If we find another area away from people, we’ll move the site and cover the old one,” he said. “However, it’s a rocky area. There aren’t many places to put dumps.”

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