The Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) and the Ministry of Environment of Cambodia held joint events to launch the 5R Program and visited the Community Protected Area of Peam Krasoap Wildlife Sanctuary, Koh Kong, Cambodia. These events were parts of the Workshop on Zero Plastic Waste for Public and Private Sectors and Communities held the day before.

Around 105 junior high school students gathered to the launch of the 5R Program—Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Remind—aims to optimize the reduction of plastic pollution. Two large sign boards were put in front of the school in the city center, one about the 5R program and the other about the fine for plastic litter.

In her speech, H.E. Ngin Lina, Deputy Director General of the General Directorate of Policy and Strategy at Cambodian Ministry of Environment, asked students to be aware about the issue of plastic pollution.

‘The students must become the role models for their families and friends to reduce the plastic waste,’ she said.

Mr Fusanori Iwasaki, Director of Policy Research of ERIA, thanked the Ministry for organizing the launch, adding that he hoped the program could raise public awareness on plastic waste reduction.

The activities continued with the site visit to the Community Protected Area of Peam Krasoap Wildlife Sanctuary, which was generally clean and very-well managed, saved for few plastic waste floating in the ocean.

An officer at the sanctuary said the floating plastic was derived from the village in the middle of the ocean. There remain only 10 families living there given the lack of utilities, and without proper waste management they litter on the sea. The issue of the floating plastic waste in this area is also related to the fact that the people struggled to find jobs in the city, the officer said.

“They have no choice. It is very difficult to find jobs in the city, so they left their families and choose to stay here to make money. Looking at the condition of their houses, I perceive that they earn only a little,” said the officer.

He added that currently the government was trying to move the remaining families to the city and provide them with proper land to live.