Phnom Penh’s Problem

An extensive newspaper article this weekend reported on Phnom Penh’s increasing problems dealing with rubbish. It’s a complex problem with many layers.

At the government level, the article pointed out: there is a lack of waste treatment facilities and a lack of trained technical staff and management policies. An official noted the national budget for waste management is limited; the collection service is poorly run; and there is a lack of regulation about landfills.

At the consumer level, the company responsible for waste collection noted that people put out rubbish after collection times; the rubbish is not properly packaged and bundled; bad roads, improper parking, and unlit streets hamper collections; and some people do not pay for the collection services.

Things are coming to a head now, though, because Phnom Penh’s landfill will be completely full within two years, but the city’s rapidly expanding population is generating 3,000 tons of rubbish a day.

Narrow and congested and poorly lit streets hinder rubbish collection.
There are no regulations for placing trash on the street for pick up.
Piles of trash on street corners provide habitats for rats, roaches, and other vermin.
Without proper rubbish bins, most of the trash is handled by hand.