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How Cambodia Could Win a War on Plastics

Cambodia faces a monumental plastic problem, which is a subset of a problem with recycling in general. By one estimate, from 2015, urban-living Cambodians each use about 2,000 plastic bags annually, 10 times more than Europeans or Chinese, while 10 million plastic bags are used just in Phnom Penh alone each day. A recent photo-essay depicts the literal and figurative mess.

What the government has done, so far, is paltry at best and indifferent at worst. Following the example of other countries, a regulation passed by the Ministry of Environment last year means that customers now have to pay $0.10 for a bag. But this is only really applied in a handful of expensive supermarkets, where most people don’t shop at.

Recycling – at least collection – is currently monetized in Cambodia, but not at every stage. Come nightfall, hundreds of ragged, rubbish collectors, pulling wagons, roam the streets looking for trash to sell for recycling in what amounts to a mini-economy, though a heavily unregulated and unfair one. Many collectors are homeless and the poorest in society. Rare is one with any decent safety equipment, a concern given they are riffling around in trash barehanded. Children, accompanying their parents, work throughout the night.

Continue reading here https://thediplomat.com/2019/02/how-cambodia-could-win-a-war-on-plastics/

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