Cambodia Prohibits Burning of Fields to Reduce Air Pollution

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Authorities spray water to extinguish a forest fire last year. Ministry of Information
Cambodian authorities spray water to extinguish a forest fire. Photo: Khmer Times.

Cambodia has issued an order prohibiting residents in rural areas from burning garbage, rice fields, paddy straw, and scrubland in a bid to reduce air pollution.

According to a report by Khmer Times on Monday, the Ministry of Environment of Cambodia has issued a directive banning people living in rural areas from burning rice straw and garbage in their fields.

Ministry of Environment spokesman, Mr. Neth Pheaktra, said according to a survey, the major sources and activities that cause an increase of the concentration of inert particles are emissions from industrial plants, vehicles using diesel and other fuels, forest fires, burning of grass fields, burning of agricultural waste, forest clearing, burning of rice straw, and the burning of solid waste in open areas and landfills, and dust from construction sites.

“During the dry season, from December to April, air quality monitoring surveys have found in Phnom Penh and the provinces that the air quality situation has deteriorated alarmingly, especially with the increase in the concentration of inert particles floating in the air (PMID and PM2.5) above the set standard, which can be high risk and impact people’s health,” said Mr. Pheaktra.

“We expect people and the relevant authorities to participate by reducing the amount of waste they burn in rural areas or on plantations and land concessions because all this burning builds up air pollution, even the smallest particle circulates in the atmosphere and can seriously affect breathing,” Pheaktra added.

To prevent air pollution in the country, Cambodia is taking action with five measures, including preventing wildfires, improving road infrastructure, removing dust on roads and roadsides, educating people not to burn garbage, solid waste, grass, rice straw, or other agricultural waste, and preparing preventive measures for forest fires.