Imagine you go on a date taking your partner to the riverside; you sit on a bench facing the Mekong River trying to enjoy the moment. You go there because you want to get some fresh air; a nice, clean atmosphere and it is a romantic place too.
Unfortunately, something interrupts this moment. The smell of the stinky trash from the edge of the river mixed with the scent of someone’s pee. Every night, people use the riverbank as their public open toilets. You won’t see this, but you will certainly smell it.
In August, Sokchea and Kimlim two secondary school teachers from Pursat province visited the riverside. They bought food and two bottles of water and looked for a place to sit down and eat their food.
“It’s my second time visiting the riverside. I thought that Phnom Penh would be better than my province but instead it’s smelly and dirty in some places” said Kimlim. Her friend Sokchea added that she wishes to see the people in the capital stop throwing plastic bags into the river. “It looks dirty and it pollutes the environment” she said.
Not long after this conversation with the two countrywomen, a group of three young people finished eating their fried meatballs and threw the plastic plate with the rest of the food at the edge of the river. Another guy finished drinking a bottle of water then kicked it into the air then dropped in the river.
“Sorry, but everyone else threw their trash in the river. I just followed what they did” said the 23 year old man.
Some people care about their looks such as what clothes they want to wear, what hairstyle they prefer, what vehicles that make them look cool but most seem not to care about the environment or the place that they are living in. A lot of Cambodian people said they love Cambodia yet they throw garbage on the street, into the river and around the market places.
All right romantic people, forget about the riverside thing. It has ruined your moment. Let’s move a bit further to see the Royal Palace in the Kingdom of Cambodia. The palace itself is surely amazing, just like the pop song called “Amazing Cambodia”. You would want to take out your camera to get some snapshots of yourself with your date or with your family. But, watch your feet before you click the button! You would not want to have a picture of plastic bags or an empty litter stands next to your feet. This garbage exists because after their picnic, people just throw away their trash directly to the floor, one after another.
Beside the riverside and the Royal Palace, Phnom Penh has some traditional markets for tourists to visit or to buy some local products from such as food, fruits, clothes and souvenir gifts. All of the markets are surrounded by used plastic bags and plastic bottles. You would barely find a trash bin around there. And if you have found one then it is full!
Phnom Penh is the capital city in Cambodia and it represents the heart of the Kingdom of Wonder. Conferring to the article on the Cambodia Daily newspaper released in January 13th 2016 the city announced plans to deploy 60 hand-pushed trash trolleys across the city’s park with operators authorized to ticket litterbugs. And the government said the Prey Speu prisoners would be employed to push to trash trolleys collecting rubbish. Eight months later on in August I have still not seen one yet, especially at the riverside the main tourist attraction in Phnom Penh.
Overall, Cambodian people should received more education on how to keep the environment clean, recycling and be more organized on their rubbish. The law should punish throwing garbage in public area. On the other hand, putting a new law to limit plastic bags would be a way to help reducing the number of using plastic bag everyday. In some developed countries, England as an example, no matter how much you spend on buying food from a supermarket they will not give you a plastic bag unless you pay extra for it. This encourages people to recycle their bags. This has led to an 85% reduction in the number of plastic bags being used, which in turn limits the amount of trash in the streets.
According to ABC Newspoint, Singapore is one of the cleanest and most developed countries in the world. They impose heavy fines for littering, recently fining one unlucky tenant in an apartment block $15,000 for throwing 34 used cigarettes out of his window.
These examples show that simple legislation from the government can force the people to take care of their environment.