At the five-day Waste Summit Cambodia 2020 (www.wastesummitcambodia.com), which took place from 2-6 November, One Earth – One Ocean e.V. was invited as an outstanding example for the implementation of active measures to improve water quality in Cambodia. Sam Phalla, co-founder of the NGO COMPED in Cambodia, praised the activities of oeoo in Battambang and Siem Reap as well as the support of oeoo in Munich. Since 2018, the oeoo team on site has been collecting (plastic) waste from rivers and other water sources on a daily basis, especially in the Sangke River in Battambang province and Siem Reap River in Siem Reap province. The aim is to expand activities in Cambodia exponentially, particularly along the Mekong.
The Cambodia 2020 Waste Summit brought together stakeholders from five Cambodian provinces (Serei Sophoan, Battambang, Siem Reap, Kampong Cham and Steung Saen) as well as representatives of the German Embassy, the plastics recycling company Sarom Trading Company and other waste to energy and recycling companies, research institutes, development partners and university students.
Together, they intend to tackle the enormous challenges of waste management in Cambodia, which are currently being faced and are linked to many factors, such as
- Ongoing growth in waste volumes in provincial towns and communities
- Insufficient waste management services and infrastructure
- Only rudimentary waste separation and recycling activities
- Lack of public participation, awareness raising and enforcement of the regulations
- Limited financial capacity for financing and insufficient environmental policy to support and promote recycling and sound waste management in Cambodia
In most provinces, the collected waste is landfilled, but in all provinces/towns along rivers, water channels, open spaces or open incineration, illegal disposal still occurs due to the lack of a waste management system and the lack of awareness/participation of citizens. Every day, vast quantities of plastic waste are produced in nature. It is therefore urgent to draw public attention to the current plastic consumption and the main challenges in the management of plastic waste in Cambodia.
In Cambodia, oeoo focuses on three main activities:
- Daily waste collection along the waterways
- Promoting waste separation at source, e.g. in restaurants, hotels and petrol stations
- Raising awareness and promoting behavioural change
These are also key factors for Cambodian civil society to participate in improving waste management. They are supported by close cooperation with local governments and joint actions with the private sector, individuals, development partners and other stakeholders.