On 17th and 18th December 2016, Youth Task Force group of Urban Voice Cambodia went to Sihanouk Ville to fulfill the last event of UVC projects for 2016. I would like to express my thankfulness to UVC that provided me and other youth an opportunity to work for promote trash awareness in Cambodia.
There are several activities that Youth Task Force group did there such as picking trash along the beach and recycling trash for other use purposes. After we collected trash and educated people about waste impact, all participants were divided into four small groups to make handcraft trash, then all group competed their products and posted their pictures of their design on Urban Voice Cambodia Facebook page. The posting on Facebook is for competition; for example, if any group get more likes, comments, and shares, they will become the winner with awards.
As we observed, we can see that trash management seems better than before. I found that trash is still thrown in a disorder manner. Those trashes are skewers, plastic bags, bottles, firework remaining. The most common places where trash is thrown are in the bushes, garden, grass field, fences, and tree ground. Moreover, some plastic bags are floating from place to place since they weren’t kept in rubbish bin. Also, we observed that there were not enough rubbish bins. Because rubbish bins are full, some rubbishes such as light plastic were likely to float out of the bins.
Talking about the people’s perspective on trash there, some of them seemed to be careless about their disposal garbage. They love hygiene and beauty but they don’t do anything to keep the environment clean. Although they know the effect of poorly managed waste, they still took the trash issue for granted. Of course, they know that skewers can injure their forefoots; they exactly think that the plastic bags might get into underground which causes soil and water pollution; they obviously understand that these effects will destroy the beauty in our tourist sites. All in all, they might know that such ignorance will cause a bad image to Cambodia and affect Cambodia’s tourism sector which is one of the annual GDP source.
For the recommendation, I would like to suggest some solutions which I think are the most effective ways to solve trash problem in our country. First, people need to be educated about trash’s negative impacts to the city as well as city dwellers through media and school curriculum. Second, people should be motivated to take action responding to urban issues for collective benefits. For example, the government should encourage each community and village to compete for the clean environment to be the community model. Likewise, youth can be encouraged to become the keystone by taking social activities through volunteering or school’s campaign. From household, there should be a promotion on the use of environmental bags rather than plastic bag at the market places. Third, the government should strengthen legal action by punishing people who do not dispose waste properly in the community. Next, Cambodia should have more than one company that invests in waste management and hygiene maintenance because the more competitions among those companies, the better waste management service they provide to the public. Last but not least, it is not just the government’s responsibility, it also requires the participation from individuals, non-governmental organization, related ministries, and other stakeholders to address the waste problem together in a solicitous manner.
Oun Sichan, Youth Task Force member