City hall stiffens waste rules, but cites progress

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Mizuda workers collect rubbish in Kakab commune of Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district in July. Heng Chivoan

Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng has issued official rules for residents to follow when disposing of solid waste and warned of legal action in case of non-compliance.

In a three-page directive issued on September 16, Sreng said rubbish and solid waste collection and management in Phnom Penh has shown definite improvements following the changeover to the use of three service providers with each responsible for different parts of the capital back on July 1.

One of the three firms, 800 Super, won a contract for waste collection in Tuol Kork, Sen Sok, Russey Keo, Chroy Changvar and Prek Pnov districts. Mizuda Group got a contract for Daun Penh, Prampi Makara, Dangkor, Kamboul and Por Sen Chey districts. CINTRI is responsible for waste collection in Chamkarmon, Boeung Keng Kang, Meanchey and Chbar Ampov districts.

Sreng’s directive states that residents must drain all water from their solid waste containers into the city’s drainage system before the waste is collected. Furthermore, they must sort their waste into separate containers or bags for wet waste and for dry waste.

Wet waste includes food leftovers, organic waste, fruits and flowers and must be placed in black plastic bags.

Dry waste includes paper, paper cases, plastic, steel, rubber products, bottles and cans – all of which should be placed in white plastic bags.

“The companies will only collect the solid waste that has been sorted correctly into white or black bags according to type. Waste that is not sorted in this manner will not be collected. You can purchase these garbage bags at any market,” he said.

Sreng also noted that dangerous solid waste such as pieces of broken glass or sharp objects must be stored separately from the other two kinds of waste and that the companies will collect this type of dangerous waste every Sunday.

“If anyone doesn’t follow the proper waste disposal procedures, they will first be issued a warning and if it happens again they face fines according to the existing statute. In case of repeated offences, they will be brought to court for further legal action,” he warned.

According to the directive, all state and private markets, trade centres, hotels, guesthouses, restaurants, private dwellings, schools, entertainment clubs, hospitals, factories, businesses and public institutions – essentially every residence, building or organisation throughout the capital – will now own and maintain their own rubbish bins to manage their solid waste disposal.

The directive strictly forbids the placement of waste in the canals or loose on the street, even in bags. Burning waste for any reason is also forbidden.

Wet waste will be collected at night from 9pm to 5am. Dry waste will be collected every Monday and Friday. Disposal of wet or dry waste outside of the designated hours may result in fines.

For large solid waste items like tree branches, furniture, electronics, tires, rocks and so forth, residents and businesses must contact the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority and request that they haul these items away for them.

Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra welcomed the municipality’s total revamp of waste disposal policies, saying that separating wet from dry waste will make it easier to manage and that it was in accord with the government’s overall policy on waste management issues.

He said separating waste can also be helpful for recycling programmes should the city implement them at a future date. He noted that throughout the country, over 10,000 tonnes of waste is produced each day with Phnom Penh alone accounting for 2,700 to 3,000 tonnes of that daily total.

In one year, the total waste produced in Cambodia is around four million tonnes with 70-80 per cent of that ending up in landfills and another 20 per cent as litter or pollution on the streets or in waterways. Only 10 per cent of all of the waste produced in the country is suitable for recycling at present.

“These waste sorting rules are a good start towards tackling the big problem of waste in Cambodia, so this is a positive step forward,” he said.