Cambodia – Wasting Away

I have lived in Cambodia now for 10 years. Over this time I have seen a steady increase in the amount of waste & rubbish that is being littered in our waterways, parks and streets. Population growth, an influx of businesses and increased tourist numbers has resulted in a huge increase in the consumption of consumable & non-consumable products entering the community.

IMG_9450However, the increase in consumption has not been matched by the ability of the community to dispose of waste and rubbish that accumulates. Production of waste is now conservatively estimated to be in excess of 2000 tons per day in Phnom Penh alone. Cambodia is being slowly smothered by waste and rubbish. Apart from the environmental implications that this causes Cambodia, the spread of bacterial and parasitic disease increases, not to mention how dirty the streets and waterways look.

If it is not acted upon soon, the damage to the environment, which is already occurring, will be difficult to reverse.

– So why is this perfect storm of waste build-up occurring?

– Education levels are very low when it comes to disposing of rubbish. It is very common to see people throwing rubbish on the ground.

– Waste collection is average. The company currently contracted to collect waste in Cambodia has had its waste collection capacity questioned on numerous occasions.

– Massive amounts of rubbish and waste are being dumped into landfill sites with no plan or processes to dispose of the growing stockpiles.

– Businesses are not doing their part in addressing waste issues. More and more plastics and non-biodegradable products are being created and sold, and many companies are putting their bottom line before incorporating environmentally friendly practices into their businesses.

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Reversing the trend is not difficult if everyone plays their small part. People need to put their rubbish into bins, companies need to incorporate green friendly practices and advocate the nonuse of plastics, and governments must improve waste collection and stop landfill.

Im sure every person in Cambodia must be embarrassed by the amount of rubbish growing in the streets and waterways. So lets take action. Lets clean up Cambodia! Its up to us!