Ministries and Coordination Mechanism

Several ministries are responsible for Cambodia’s waste management system (Table 1).

Table 1. Ministries Responsible for Waste Management in Cambodia

Cambodia : Ministries and Coordination Mechanism (Table 1)

Ministry Authority
Ministry of Environment Management of municipal solid waste, industrial waste, and hazardous waste
Ministry of Health Medical waste management through the Department of Hospital Services and provincial departments of health
Ministry of Industry and Handicraft Industrial waste management and clean production
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Waste disposal management, with the Ministry of Environment
Ministry of Interior   Decentralisation of waste management, in cooperation with the National Committee for Sub-National Democratic Development

Source: PPCA et al. (2018).


PPCA, IGES, Nexus, UN Environment, CCCA (2018), Phnom Penh Waste Management strategy and action plan 2018-2035. (accessed 15 October 2019).

National Laws and Regulation

Cambodia has several national legal frameworks for solid waste management:

Law on Environmental Protection and Natural Resource Management (1996)

Prevention and reduction of environmental hazards, including from waste, are controlled by a Ministry of Environment sub-decree (Article 13).

Inter-Ministerial Declaration of Ministry of Interior-Ministry of Environment on Waste and Solid Waste Management in Province/Municipalities of Cambodia No. 80/2003

The declaration aims to establish efficient solid waste management in provinces and cities to protect health, the environment, and biodiversity (Article 1). The declaration covers all activities related to waste management, including collection, storage, transportation, recycling, and disposal.

Environmental Guidelines on Solid Waste Management in Kingdom of Cambodia (2006)

The regulation consists of five main topics: solid waste management plan, landfill management, composting regulation, medical waste management, and environmental education guideline. The solid waste management plan must be renewed every 5 years and include waste handling, storage, transportation, and disposal mechanisms. Landfills should be properly managed based on environmentally sound management to minimise harm to human, nature, and animal health. The composting ordinance is to enhance environmental protection by processing bio waste into compost to reduce the amount of landfill leachate and biogas. The guideline on medical waste management contains regulations to manage medical waste in a proper and safe technique to maintain public health, environmental quality, and conservation of biological species. Lastly, environmental education guideline aims to make citizens more aware of environmental and natural resources protection and involve them in adopting tangible actions in their daily lives.

Sub-decree on Solid Waste Management (2009)

The goal of the regulation is to protect human health and biodiversity (Curea, 2017) and to target two kinds of solid waste:

  1. Household waste. Public disposal of such waste is highly restricted unless done with permission from the authorities (Article 7). Household waste may be exported with approval from the relevant ministries. The import of waste is forbidden (Article 9 and 10).
  2. Hazardous waste. Disposing of such waste in public sites is prohibited (Article 15). It should be transported and disposed of separately from household waste. Exporting hazardous waste is allowed with the approval of the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Trade, and importing countries (Article 20). Importing hazardous waste is restricted (Article 21). Plastic waste from production processes is considered hazardous waste.

Technical Guidelines on Healthcare Waste Management (2011)

The guidelines consist of technical procedures for healthcare waste management, which includes determining factors for installing specific healthcare waste management and deciding criteria for proper designs of facilities.

Sub-decree on Management of Garbage and Solid Waste of Downtowns (2015)

The general aim of this regulation is to improve garbage and solid waste management in the downtowns of Cambodia (Article 1). Several institutions are involved: Ministry of Environment; Ministry of Interior; Ministry of Economy and Finance; provincial administrations; capital and provincial departments of environment; and capital, municipal, district, and commune administrations (Article 5–14). In managing waste, producers of garbage and solid waste have several responsibilities: they should separate and wrap their wastes to prevent leakage (Articles 15–16) and maintain wrapped wastes inside housing areas before they are disposed by the administration (Article 17). Fees for cleaning, collecting, and transporting the wastes are the responsibility of waste producers (Article 18). At a higher level, capital, municipal, and district administrations should provide public garbage bins (Article 22); determine places to temporarily store wastes (Article 24); and provide cleaning, collecting, and transporting services (Article 30). Penalties are imposed against violators of the regulation (Chapter 7).

Sub-decree No. 168 on the Management of Plastic Bags (2017)

The regulation aims to reduce plastic use to enhance the quality of public health, the environment, and the landscape.


Curea, C. (2017), Sustainable societies and municipal solid waste management in Southeast Asia. In P. Schroeder. K. Anggraeni. S. Sartori & U. Weber, Sustainable Asia: Supporting the transition to sustainable consumption and production in Asian developing countries (pp. 391-415).  Singapore: World Scientific Publishing CO, Pte. Ltd.

Government of Cambodia (1996), Law on Environmental Protection and Natural Resource Management (accessed 15 October 2019).

Government of Cambodia (2006), Environmental Guidelines on Solid Waste Management in Kingdom of Cambodia. (accessed 14 April 2021).

Government of Cambodia (2009), Sub Decree on Solid Waste Management (accessed 15 October 2019).

Government of Cambodia (2015), Sub-decree on Management of Garbage and Solid Waste of Downtowns (accessed 14 April 2021).

Government of Cambodia (2017), Sub-decree No. 168 on the Management of Plastic Bags.,-URL%3A%20https%3A%2F%2F&text=This%20Sub%2DDecree%20aims%20to,public%20health%2C%20environment%20and%20landscape (accessed 16 April 2021).

Ministry of Environment (MoE), Cambodian Education and Waste Management Organization (COMPED) (2006), Environmental Guidelines on Solid Waste Management in Kingdom of Cambodia (accessed 15 October 2019).

Ministry of Health Cambodia (2011), Technical Guidelines on Healthcare Waste Management. (accessed 14 April 2021).

Local Regulations

Several regulations relate to solid waste management, especially in Phnom Penh (Singh, et al., 2018):

  1. Draft Strategy and Methodology for Improving Waste Management and Cleansing, Collection, and Transport of Solid Waste in Phnom Penh
  2. Notification on Waste Storage and Waste Discharge, and Penalties for Improper Waste Disposal in Phnom Penh Municipality No. 13 (2013)
  3. Instruction on Application of Penalties to Promote Environmental Sanitation in Phnom Penh Municipality No. 09 (2010)
  4. Instruction on Waste Separation in Phnom Penh Municipality No. 08 (2010)
  5. Instruction on Penalties on Waste Disposal in Public Areas No. 16 (2010)


Singh, R. K., Premakumara, D. G., Yagasa, R., Onogawa, K. (2018), State of Waste Management in Phnom Penh, Cambodia 2018 (accessed 15 October 2019).

Action Plans and Roadmaps

The National Environment Strategy and Action Plan 2016–2023 supports activities related to solid waste management, such as separation, collection, transport, treatment, and disposal. Sanitary landfill is expected to help solve waste management issues. The action plan reinforces implementation of the reduce, reuse, recycle (3R) principle and volume-based waste collection fees, and encourages solid waste managers to modernize and integrate their operations.

Cambodia is formulating the National Waste Management Strategy Action Plan in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, United Nations Environment Programme, and Institute for Global Environmental Strategies to accelerate waste management across the country. The plan’s goal is to improve public health, social security, and cities’ environment by 2030. On plastic, the plan states: ‘To improve waste collection coverage in urban areas and minimize the amount of waste in landfills, segregation of organic and plastic waste at source for recycling will be promoted.

The Phnom Penh Waste Management Strategy and Action Plan 2018–2035 aims to create a reliable waste management system and coordinate the efforts of different actors, to minimise the environmental and health impacts frequently caused by improper waste management. The plan has six targets:

  1. efficient disposal, collection, and waste management service;
  2. advanced recycling through waste separation, engagement with private sector, and promotion of recycled products;
  3. efficient waste disposal management and better-quality livelihoods;
  4. sound management of special waste – medical, industrial, and electronic; and
  5. joint actions with stakeholders.

The first target requires a regulation on city-wide waste separation and behaviour change. The second target is crucial because it requires recycling of plastic.


PPCA, IGES, Nexus, UN Environment, CCCA (2018), Phnom Penh Waste Management Strategy and Action Plan 2018-2035 (accessed 15 October 2019).

Government of Cambodia (2017), National Environment Strategy and Action Plan 2016-2023 (accessed 15 October 2019).