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  • Writer's pictureIan Miller

Plastic Nightmare in Phnom Penh

Updated: Jun 17, 2021

The nightmare of the plastic and polystyrene waste scattered around the city does not seem to be getting any better. There seems to be little political commitment to tackling this problem and without that, it will never go away.

As seen above is the collection of plastic waste at Bueng Trabek this fills the canal and just seems to get bigger. This will not rot down or go away and needs action to remove it and dispose of it in a proper fashion.

People are living with this stinking mess literally on their doorstep. The problem is caused by people actively or passively dumping their waste into the open sewer that leads to Bueng Trabek lake. The people need to start taking more responsibility for the care and disposal of their day too day waste and a much more effective system of collection must be implemented by those with that responsibility.

It saddens me personally to see this potentially great city let down by its inability to keep itself clean and maintain at least a level of hygiene that is not a danger to some of its population.

Five simple things that you as an individual can do to reduce plastic waste.

1. Break up with bottled water.

Save hundreds of dollars per years by saying goodbye to single-use plastic bottles.

2. Shop with reusable bags.

100,000 marine animals are killed by plastic bags each year. Switch to reusables to reduce your overall waste.

3. Skip the straw.

Do without or if you like having something to sip with, use a glass, bamboo, hay, metal or another type of reusable straw. Ask for no straw when ordering drinks.

4. Recycle everything!

And we do mean everything you cannot reuse, compost, or donate.

5. Choose seasonal and local.

Avoid prepackaged food, shop at the local farmers' markets and refuse plastic packaging.

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