A campaign to stamp out littering nationwide has been launched by the US Embassy and partners to encourage people to stop littering and burning plastic waste, and reduce the use of single-use plastics.
The embassy's "Talk to Stop Littering" campaign was launched on Friday in collaboration with conservation partners in Cambodia. It is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and aims to encourage Cambodians to change behaviors towards the disposal of trash.
The campaign will distribute content through online platforms and provide scientific information on the impacts of littering, as well as offer methods to manage waste and trash.
The campaign will also work closely with young people as “Green Champions” to model successful practices.
Hanh Nguyen, USAID's Acting Mission Director, said littering is not only a Cambodia matter but also a global issue that cannot be overlooked to reduce the amount of waste, which is harmful for natural resources, such as wildlife and people’s health, while influencing the economy.
“Everywhere in the world, solid waste management has been a challenge. Population has increased, lifestyles have changed and, especially, the way we package food and products. These things are putting stress on the way we do what is trash.
“In addition to the increasing volume of waste, littering is a critical issue that cannot be ignored,” Nguyen said, adding that the United States spends more than $11 billion a year to clean up litter.
In addition to the cause related to removal and cleaning up, littering is a threat to wildlife, property values, human health and other economic activities.
Over the last 10 years, USAID has contributed more than $100 million to preserve and protect Cambodia's environment and natural resources.
She added, “Our environmental program supports Cambodia to conserve the Kingdom through our diversity and natural resources through supporting indigenous communities in governing natural resources and increasing their economic income.”
Currently, the USAID environmental program has delivered investment of more than $50 billion dollars for forest management and biodiversity conservation, and reduced over 25 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions for deforestation and change land use in Cambodia, according to Nguyen.
She believes that through this social and behavior change campaign, Stop To Talk Littering, will raise public awareness and why littering matters. It will also provide resources for individuals, groups, families and what society can do to address littering better.
“In order to oversee our efforts to make our workplace greener, we take waste management seriously and we sort waste by types, and have adapted the 4Rs concepts. Refuse to use single plastics, reduce consumption, reuse items, don't throw them out," she said.
“We even reuse cafeteria scraps in our composition to support our community gardens. Recycling those items that can be reprocessed, we recycle paper, plastic, aluminum and e-waste at the US embassy,” she mentioned.
Nguyen added that individuals can play a large role in reducing the negative impact of littering. “I encourage all of you to talk to your friends and family members and be the role model, reducing the amount of litter that we produce. Together we can stop littering to protect our environment, health and the beauty of Cambodia.”
Kith Chankrisna, an advisor to the Ministry of Environment, called on all people to stop littering and encouraged citizens to separate trash following the waste management measurements in the country.
“We urge all people across Cambodia to dispose of separate trash correctly in trash bins, and to join the Cambodian Government's efforts in implementing effective waste management measures toward achieving a waste-free Cambodia,” he stated at a ceremony on Friday.
He added, “All Cambodians have a common duty to protect our environment for a clean living, clean home, clean city and for good health.”
Kim Seth, Director General of Phnom Penh Solid Waste Management Authority, said that the campaign will not only be for entertainment purposes but sent out through booth exhibitions, campaign videos and performances, such as songs and Yike, etc, which will help to promote public awareness about environmental hygiene and push forward behavioral change in waste management.
“It is the activity that links with the increasing of knowledge for the public through promotion of environmental hygiene that is not only for entertainment purpose but also sends messages that mainstreams awareness on benefits of waste management and proper disposal of waste to the public at all races, and to young people and all the people about not disposing of solid waste openly, waste separation, plastic reduction, environmental protection and making cities green, beautiful, and comfortable for living,” he remarked.
To this end, the project has two objectives. The first is to increase the target populations' knowledge and positive attitudes about the benefits of Cambodia's unique and endangered biodiversity and the critical importance of forest ecosystems. Objective 2 is to increase citizen-led efforts to apply strategic communications to protect biodiversity and forest ecosystems in target areas.