Environmental Ministry discusses waste management opportunities

On February 27th, the German Business Group Cambodia (ADW), the German Embassy, the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation (KAS) and the GIZ Global Business Network (GBN) Programme welcomed H.E. Soa Sopheap to a networking lunch with German institutions and companies to discuss opportunities in waste management in Cambodia. While Germany today has achieved considerable progress in developing modern solutions to sort, treat and recycle waste, the country’s experience with a shortage of landfill capacity during the 1980s, coupled with the growing awareness that Germans needed to curb the use of natural resources and energy, prompted the development of a modern waste management system.

Ever since, the “circular economy” has remained a top priority for environmental policy makers in Germany: since the early 1990s, work has been ongoing to transform waste management into a resource management system. Waste management in Germany has evolved into a large and influential economic sector, with more than 270,000 employees working for 11,000 companies, and an annual turnover of around 70 billion euros. More than 15,500 waste management facilities currently help Germany conserve resources through recycling and other recovery operations.

During the lunch, H.E. Soa Sopheap, state secretary at the Ministry of Environment, provided an overview on the different efforts undertaken by the Cambodian government to modernise the waste management sector in the country. These efforts include: legislative reforms affecting waste collection, sorting, and treatment, the evaluation of potential waste-to-energy options for Cambodia, and awareness-raising initiatives at various political and administrative levels.

Following H.E. Sopheap’s account, representatives from Germany’s private sector, development and research institutions presented German services and technologies that have the potential to support developing a waste management system in Cambodia, some of which have already been implemented successfully in neighboring countries.  The group of representatives offered  to support the Cambodian government in the implementation of its “3Rs”  Principle (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle), by providing experiences gained in Asian waste systems, sharing technological know-how, and providing modern and reliable equipment for virtually all areas and stages of waste disposal: collection, sorting, treatment and disposal (through biological, physical or thermal methods), the reduction of landfills and the establishment of a formal recycling structure, emission protection, and landfill monitoring and aftercare.