Nou Sovann Works For a Cleaner Cambodia

As a child, Let’s Do It! World project leader in Cambodia, Nou Sovann, lived in an area which received the flood of wastewater and domestic waste from the city center. The floods usually happened from July to November. When Nou looked out of the window and around his house, he not only saw smelly black […]

As a child, Let’s Do It! World project leader in Cambodia, Nou Sovann, lived in an area which received the flood of wastewater and domestic waste from the city center. The floods usually happened from July to November.

When Nou looked out of the window and around his house, he not only saw smelly black wastewater flowing under his wooden house, but also witnessed piles of trash among all that mess. He had to walk to school barefoot through the dumps, sometimes without clothes as it depended on the level of water.

These shocking images from his childhood moved Nou, who is now a student at the National University of Management, to commit to environmental issues and he has been involved in Let’s Do It! World since late 2016.

Cambodia in Progress

According to his information, almost 100 trash points have so far been mapped in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. Nou plans to develop a nationwide network uniting the Ministry of Environment, universities, college students, NGOs, and different corporations in Cambodia to get more trashpoints on the map.

Based on Nou’s observations, the government of Cambodia, together with civil society, has managed to control the waste issue in the capital city and urban areas, but due to lack of waste management, infrastructural problems, inaccessible roads, and of course – behaviour of the citizens, the waste issue is still alarming in several parts of Cambodia.

„The main problems related to mapping and cleaning up waste are mobilising human resources, lack of funding, complicated politics and finding a place where we can keep the trash collected,“ he explained.

Mindset changes
The one thing that people seem to focus on is money. Nou explained: “If they get involved in mapping trashpoints, they have to spend their valuable time they could otherwise use to earn money. So people don’t see it as a problem they should handle. For them, it is the undone work of waste management companies and the government. Finding people who are really dedicated to this kind of service is quite hard.“

Luckily, after Nou’s hard work, more and more volunteers and partners are hopping on board and after finding Let’s Do It! World he does not feel so alone in his fight for a cleaner environment.

His hard work has already created actual changes in local communities. On one occasion when Nou went mapping, he noticed local people throwing trash in the river as he was taking photos of the trashpoints. „They told me that citizens in this area had no choice, but to throw trash in the river, because the garbage truck never comes. The locals did not want to pay for the collection service, as they were used disposing of garbage the way they did.
Nou went to see the community leader the same afternoon and informed her of this issue. Within a week, the community leader organised regular trash collection for the area. Now, the trashpoint at the riverbank has become a vegetable planting ground.

This kind of positive change created at the grassroots level is exactly what World Cleanup Day and the Let’s Do It! World are about. Leaders like Nou work so hard, normally voluntarily, to make the world a better and cleaner place for all. We thank you, Nou, for your incredible efforts.