Nearly 7K tonnes of waste removed from capital’s clogged up canal

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An excavator is clearing the Boeung Tompun canal on May 9. The Phnom Penh municipal Department of Public Works and Transport

The Sewage, Pumping and Treatment Unit under the Phnom Penh municipal Department of Public Works and Transport has cleared the Boeung Tompun canal and collected nearly 7,000 tonnes of various kinds of rubbish.

Duong Chansarath, the head of the unit, said on May 10 that the working group had cleaned the BoeungTompun Canal out because there was a lot of grass and also rubbish which blocked the flow of water.

He said that in maintenance of the canal from April 5 to May 8, they removed 4,550 cubic metres of grass and mud, the equivalent of 6,825 tonnes.

"The canal is more than 3,000m long and 30m wide, starting from the Stung Meanchey overpass and connecting to the Boeung Tumpun pumping station. We removed debris only from the end part of the canal over 600m long next to the Boeung Tumpun pumping station.

“We worked only on that part because rubbish had piled up there and caused congestion. Once we can remove all of it, the canal will be fine," he said.

Chansarath called on the public to dispose of rubbish properly by not throwing it into the canal as it will lead to water congestion, especially in the coming rainy season.

Community Sanitation and Recycling Organisation executive director Heng Yon Kora said the environment in Phnom Penh had improved in recent years because people are more aware of the problems with packaging and the disposal of rubbish.

Yon Kora said rubbish collectors usually transport it in large trucks so they cannot go to some areas along the canal were the streets are too narrow. This, he said, prompted people living along those narrow streets to throw waste into the canal or burn it.

"Through my interviews with some residents, they said they pay $1 per month through their electricity bill, but the rubbish collection service wasn’t reaching their home.