Over 1,000 tonnes of rubbish removed from capital’s canal as Cambodia reports its 21st Covid-19 death

A woman pushes her food cart past the Boeung Trabek sewage canal in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district early this month. - Phnom Penh Post/ANN

PHNOM PENH, April 5 (Phnom Penh Post/ANN): Around 1,500 tonnes of rubbish, mostly plastic, has been removed from the capital’s Boeung Trabek canal – an amount officials said was huge but less than before.

Duong Chansarath, head of the drainage and sewage unit at the Phnom Penh municipal Department of Public Works and Transport, said his team had disposed of waste that was blocking the sewage canal from March 10-31 in a bid to reduce flooding in the coming rainy season.

Chansarath said authorities removed 380 truckloads of waste from the canal, which is 900m long and 30m wide. The waste drained into the canal from all directions in the city.

“Compared to the amount removed previously, that represented a decrease. We usually take more than 2,000 tonnes of rubbish at a time. Every year, we remove waste at least four times, ” he said.

Chansarath called on residents to dispose of their rubbish properly and not throw it onto the street as it can cause flooding and affect homes.

San Chey, executive director of the NGO Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said previous measures taken by relevant authorities have significantly changed the attitude of some people in waste disposal, especially residents living next to canals in Phnom Penh.

But he also noted that people in some places still litter as awareness about the issue is still limited.

“I do not see any improvement in attitude [with some people] in waste disposal. During this period when there is an infectious disease like Covid-19, a clean environment also contributes to good health, ” he said.

Chey called on the municipal authority to clean up waste from other congested canals, such as those on Street 371 in Meanchey district.

Meanwhile, Cambodia on Monday confirmed 63 new local Covid-19 cases and one new death, the country's Ministry of Health (MoH) said in a statement.

Of the new infections, 31 were found in capital Phnom Penh, 22 in Svay Rieng province, six in Preah Sihanouk province, two in Kampong Chhnang province and two in Kandal and Prey Veng provinces, the statement said.

A 42-year-old Chinese man succumbed to the disease Sunday night at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh, it said, adding that the man was confirmed to have COVID-19 on March 27.

"The doctors concluded that the 42-year-old Chinese man died from the Covid-19, which caused severe damage to his lungs," the statement said.

According to the MoH, since the start of the pandemic in January last year, the South-East Asian country has officially registered a total of 2,752 confirmed Covid-19 cases, with 21 deaths and 1,747 recoveries.

The kingdom launched an anti-Covid-19 vaccination drive on Feb. 10. As of Sunday, more than 581,000 people in the priority groups had been vaccinated against the virus, a government report showed. - Phnom Penh Post/ANN

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