Takeo Villagers Protest as Local Field Used as Trash Dumpsite

3 min read
The landfill site in Takeo’s Samraong district. (Supplied)

Dozens of villagers blocked a road to stop a trash company from bringing its trucks to a 1-hectare field near the village, which has been overflowing with bags of unprocessed, unburned garbage.

A local official said the site was an Environment Ministry-approved landfill, and he would notify the ministry if the company did not build a fence and start incinerating the trash.

Thul Ra said the site, in Takeo province’s Samraong district, about 700 meters from Rovieng commune’s Khruos village, saw about 10 trucks a day dumping garbage.

It was affecting nearby crops and people’s health, Ra said.

“Stinking trash flows into the canal, affecting the water, and the cows cannot drink it. The trash is overflowing. People are no longer fishing. They don’t dare to come close to the field as there are flies and smell,” she said. “No one comes to this trash field. They don’t want to come as it stinks them up. They fill the trash in a mess, so the residents no longer come close to it.”

Supplied photos of the site showed large piles of plastic bags filled with garbage.

Recently, villagers blocked roads in protest, preventing the company’s trucks from getting to the field on January 4 and 5.

Hen Sriv, another villager, said they would do it again if there was no change.

“I blocked the road to stop the dumping of trash there,” he said, adding that wind carried the noxious fumes around the area, affecting health. “The farmers nearby cannot work as the smell from the trash pile gets to their bodies.”

Villagers block a road in Takeo province to prevent trash dumping trucks from reaching a field, in January 2022. (Supplied)
Villagers block a road in Takeo province to prevent trash dumping trucks from reaching a field, in January 2022. (Supplied)

Morn Saroeun said that in the past, more than 100 families had signed a petition and complained to village, commune and district authorities about five to six times, but there has been no action.

Saroeun asked that the company build a proper landfill and incinerate the trash in a furnace.

“I ask that they not do anything that affects the residents and damages their rice,” she said. “I want them to incinerate in a furnace, not to burn outside.”

Chim Sovanrith, whom the villagers named as the trash company’s head, could not be reached for comment.

Ket Mao, Samraong’s district governor, said his team had inspected the landfill site and told the company to incinerate trash in a furnace and build a 2-meter wall around the site.

He said he would submit a report to the Environment Ministry if the company did not follow the instructions.

“If not, firstly, I have to report to the Ministry of Environment since the landfill site is approved by the Ministry of Environment,” he said. “I cannot close it. … If he does not follow, we have to temporarily block the road.”

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