New Luxury apartments in Phnom Penh, but we still can’t get clean canals
Posted On : September, 23, 2016 | By Vantha

Phnom Penh: The stinky canal flows across the city from Aureussey to Stoeng Meanchey. The canal is just located almost in the middle of the capital. The Beong Trabek plaza market, schools, offices and private companies are located along both sides of the canal. A huge Chinese construction site opposite of the Beong Trabek plaza market is slowly being built. The plans show two or three giant skyscrapers pointing to the sky. When the construction is finished there would be a lot of people coming into this area.

However, families that currently live along the canal use it as their personal rubbish dump. They throw rubbish in one end of the canal and because the water is not fast flowing it collects at the other of the canal end where even poorer people or scavengers go through it.

The smell of the canal is very strong and no doubt the water is full of disease that will affect the peoples health. Since the water is not fast running therefore the canal needs to be cleaned so that the water might not be too stinky.

According to the article from the Cambodia Daily in March 2016, the Prime Minister Hun Sen said that Cambodia needed to rapidly increase investment in its road, rail, sea, and air links if it is to take advantage of regional integration and remain internationally competitive.

Is the Cambodia government ever thought of developing what we have got inside the city such as the Boeng Trabek stinky canal?

This dirty canal is one piece of evidence which shows that despite the numerous luxury developments that are being built across the city, Phnom Penh does not have a good infrastructure or a proper system to make human life in the country feel comfortable.

Agreeing with the article from The Phnom Penh Post in 2015, which made the interview with Steven Iddings who was the World Health Organization’s team leader for environmental health. Steven said that a human excreta is always dangerous. This is a very unfortunate situation if there is untreated human waste in a body of water like this [the Boeng Trabaek canal], especially if it floods.

A report by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland states that there is a direct link between poor water sanitation and an increase in disease and mosquito population. This is especially true when the water is still or slow moving, as can be found in the Boeng Trabek canal.


A woman Keo Heng who sold fried noodles and soft drink on a little bridge over the canal in the Phnom Penh Post’s article claimed that her husband was plagued by dizziness and sudden vomiting without any signs of an illness because of the water in the canal and other people that live there get sick more frequently.

Surely the simple solution to this issue is to simply clean the canal and provide places where the locals can deposit their rubbish safely. The responsibility for this would rest with the district chiefs and the city hall. Unfortunately cleaning the canal does not seem to be immediately profitable; perhaps this is why it is neglected. However, if we think long term, cleaning up the canal and making it more presentable to investors would surely bring in more investment to the area.

Other country like India, the government plans to clean up the polluted Korarur Lake and turn it into a tourist spot according to an article New Indian Express in 2016.

After cleaning the canals the local people would live in a better and healthy environment; they won’t have to worry about the smell, bacteria, or mosquitos that come from that canal anymore. More than that, it can be a place for fish to grow, not for eating but as a water decoration. It could become a place where the locals could relax and tourists would visit.

Urban Voice Cambodia

Urban Voice Cambodia