Global Partnership on Waste Management


Submitted by Ministry of the Environment
Summary of information
Highest priority waste streams
1. Municipal solid waste
2. Industrial waste
3. E-waste
Highest priority areas of capacity building
1. Policy and regulatory
2. Technical and scientific
Narrative summary
Cambodia (Ministry of the Environment)’s responses to the needs assessment survey show that across the country, clear and enforceable regulations need to be developed and implemented. While this process is underway for some streams such as industrial waste, regulations for other streams such as MSW, e-waste and waste plastics are obsolete, and e-waste laws are non-existent. The responses also reveal that advanced equipment, skilled human resources and institutional strengthening are highly in demand. The country needs to strengthen its technical capacity especially in the treatment of the potentially hazardous waste streams, such as those generated by industries, healthcare facilities, and electric and electronic equipment. Nevertheless, the management of MSW and other waste streams are emphasized in the environmental and social protection agenda. National policy aims to prevent transboundary dumping of wastes onto its territory, to eliminate plastic litter from its streets by 2015, and has begun a Clean City Contest throughout the country.

Municipal solid waste (MSW)
MSW is the highest-ranked waste stream requiring better management in Cambodia. Technical understanding of MSW management needs to be greatly improved at both national and subnational levels. Specifically, technical capacities of the waste collection and recycling industries in the private sector and the management of sanitary landfills need to be strengthened. Detailed and easily-accessible technical guidelines and regulations for MSW management should replace the existing ineffective and rarely enforced waste management policies, particularly in areas such as equipment maintenance. Guidelines and regulations, however, need to be supported and implemented by adequate funds for technology and skilled human resources. Officials at the subnational level should be better trained in integrated solid waste management, while funds are needed for the procurement of waste collection equipment and the development of a life-cycle approach to MSW management. Furthermore, public awareness of MSW management issues could also be improved. While MSW generators could be better educated on the benefits of segregating waste, traditional recyclers, such as rag-pickers and those living close to dumpsites, also require education on the health risks of MSW. In short, an integrated solid waste management plan should be developed, each component should be more clearly delegated to the responsible authorities, and funds should be mobilized towards its implementation despite a limited national budget.

Industrial waste
Industrial waste management in Cambodia also is ranked as a priority for improvement. Existing legislation renders industrial waste management a responsibility of the private sector, although with government monitoring and oversight at industrial premises and safe landfills. A new improved law on Environmental Pollution Management has been drafted and is expected to be adopted by 2013. The responses suggest that the effectiveness of the new law will depend firstly on the participation of waste management experts; they are important promoters of the 3R concept and Green Businesses in Cambodia. Secondly, awareness and understanding in the industrial sector must be improved, in order for waste generators themselves to take the initiative in waste management. Finally, governmental institutions need to collect better data on industrial waste (such as waste characterization and quantification, existing private sector management practices), in order to analyze waste management needs, facilitate the enforcement of regulations, and improve the technical understanding of officials. In addition, funds must be made available for the collection and management of industrial waste, whether delegated to the industrial sector or to governmental authorities. Incentives for public participatio n must also be increased, whether for the reporting of mismanagement of industrial waste, or simply to steer the public away from collecting industrial waste for uses such as cheap fuel.

E-waste management is also considered a priority area for improvement. No specific regulations addressing e-waste exist; regulations will be required to address the issues of locally generated waste and second-hand imported electrical and electronic equipment. Although guidelines on e-waste management have been developed, they need to be better distributed to stakeholders at the subnational level. Therefore, the responses suggest that specific e-waste legislation should be developed, and should be based upon 3R initiatives, including the development of a Safe Dumpsite Operation. Cambodia’s technical capacities for environmentally sound e-waste management also need to be developed in the public and private sectors, in particular among repair or dismantling shops for electric and electronic equipment.  Widespread public awareness of the risks of e-waste mismanagement needs to be created, while funds to construct safe dumpsites must be made available.

Healthcare waste
Healthcare waste management could also be improved in Cambodia. Equipment and facilities for healthcare waste disposal is needed. At both central and provincial levels, however, not enough funds are allocated to the waste stream. This renders capacity-building tasks such as constructing incinerators and creating awareness of healthcare waste hazards rather difficult. Regulations on healthcare waste management are inadequate but are currently being amended for improvement. The private sector generating healthcare waste, however, must still be actively engaged through clear policies and guidelines. There are gaps in the institutional responsibiliti es for healthcare waste management; they must yet be filled and activities must be delegated clearly. Public awareness of healthcare waste hazards, especially amongst those residing close to dumpsites, could also be improved.

Hazardous waste
In Cambodia, legislation on hazardous waste disposal, such as the Safe Dumpsite Operation, exists. However, enforcement of legislation is not comprehensive and could be improved through better coordination and technical capacity of governmental institutions, including the development of guidelines. As the main waste generators, the private sector could be better involved and better educated on safe hazardous waste management practices. Funds are needed for tasks such as equipment maint enance, collection of pollution data, and the construction of specific landfills for hazardous waste. Local communities can also be mobilized as key actors, reporting any illegal treatment of hazardous waste in their areas.

Waste agricultural biomass (WAB)
Policies regarding the use of WAB as a resource are non-existent. The technical capacity for using WAB as a resource is also lacking. It is suggested that the potential uses of WAB is not well understood in Cambodia, especially among local communities who generate the waste. To introduce technologies for the conversion of WAB into a resource, fund s will need to be steadily provided to Cambodia.

Organic waste
Organic waste generators are usually neither aware of the technical methods of composting, nor have access to equipment needed. Educational guidelines and campaigns promoting organic waste management can be directed at the private sector or local communities in the country, promoting the segregation of organic waste from MSW. Nevert heless, a better supply of funds will be needed to realistically implement organic waste management practices on a large scale.

Waste plastics
Cambodia does not have laws regulating waste plastics. Although basic concepts, such as the 3R principle, have been included in waste plastics guidelines, they have been poorly promoted to local communities and recycling is not often practiced. The health and environmental risks of mismanaged waste plastics are not well-understood, especially amongst local level generators and businesses. Local municipal authorities are also not sufficiently coordinated for waste plastic management activities. Above all, a more comprehensive awareness campaign directed at the general public is required.