February 9, 2024
PHNOM PENH – The Ministry of Environment has announced that plastic imports decreased by about 50 per cent in late 2023.
Plastic imports in the fourth quarter of 2023 declined by 32.2 tonnes, a drop of around 50 per cent compared to the third quarter, said ministry undersecretary of state Khvay Atiya.
“This shows an increase in public awareness and the participation of more and more people in the ministry’s ‘Today I will not use plastic’ campaign,” he said.
Atiya noted that last month saw 12 tonnes of plastic imported, a drop of about 80 per cent on January 2023, when over 60 tonnes was imported.
“We began recording this data in order to track the amount of plastic the private sector uses for packaging in their production chains,” he explained.
Atiya said the drop could be attributed to two main influences. First, public awareness has increased through the “Today I will not use plastic” campaign, which he claimed has reached almost four million people.
“The other driver is the participation of the private sector. They want to make Cambodia a clean home for us all. We must all work together to help care for the planet and reduce the use of plastics, in line with the ministry’s Circular Strategy, which aims to make the Kingdom clean, green and sustainable,” he explained.
He requested that the public continue to take measures to reduce their use of plastic, and urged all school campuses, pagodas and factories to work to keep their area clear of garbage and plastic waste.
Sea Sophal, director of the NGO2 BambooShoot Foundation, which organises regular clean-ups of the Tonle Sap Lake, said the reduction of plastic use is always a positive outcome, but in order to yield even better results, a ban on the import of certain single-use plastic goods should be introduced.
“In addition to the ministry’s plastic reduction campaign, our organisation distributes documents on the principles of establishing eco-friendly schools. We also sign agreements to collect paper and plastic for recycling,” he added.