Editorial: Government’s Decision on 83 Containers of Plastic Waste Exemplifies its Commitment to All Companies and Investors

AKP Phnom Penh, July 31, 2019 —

The Royal Government of Cambodia has decided and reacted seriously against the import of any waste into the country, and whatever waste counts.

This strong reaction can be seen through a decision to charge Chungyuen Plastic Manufacture Co., Ltd. found responsible for importing 83 containers of plastic wastes into Cambodia.

H.E. Kun Nhim, General Director of the General Department of Customs and Excise said at a joint press conference in the afternoon of July 30, 2019 at his office that Chungyuen Plastic Manufacture Co., Ltd. is obliged with two important actions by Aug. 24, 2019.

Firstly, the company must return the 83 containers of plastic waste to their origins, and secondly, the company is fined with an amount of 1,037,500,000 riels (more than US$250,000), to be channeled to the national budget.

In case the company fails to comply, the General Department of Customs and Excise will pursue further legal action against it in accordance with Cambodian laws.

The decision follows a comprehensive investigation by the government on the case of the import of those plastic waste in 83 containers, found to have been shipped 27 times to Sihanoukville Autonomous Port – the first was in September 2018 and the last in January 2019.

According to shipping documents, there are 70 containers weighing 1,322 tons from the United States and 13 containers of 270 tons from Canada. The shipping documents also states that, before arriving Cambodia, those 83 containers passed through Singapore’s port 22 times, Malaysia’s port two times, and Vietnam’s port three times.

Thorough intervention on the case of imported waste demonstrates the strong commitment of the Royal Government of Cambodia under the leadership of Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, who reiterated that Cambodia does not allow imports of all kinds of waste for recycling in the Kingdom, but welcome the investment to recycle the domestic wastes.

The endeavour stands as a clear message against the unwelcome practice, not only by Cambodia, but also other ASEAN countries, including the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia who have encountered similar situation recently.

During earlier visit to the construction site of the Morodok Techo National Stadium, Samdech Techo Prime Minister also reacted strongly to the waste import, as domestic waste management demands significant effort to handle already.

According to the government’s record, Phnom Penh alone has about 3,000 tons of waste, while Preah Sihanouk has 1,000 tons, let alone the amount from Siem Reap and other provinces, and waste recycle is being encouraged to reduce its environmental fallouts.

It is hoped that import firms and beyond in Cambodia will not lead or support the import of waste into the Kingdom, but support the Royal Government to introduce recycling practice in line with the commitment and principles of the country.

By Heng Panha