Trash Under the Surface of the Tonle Sap River

There is a popular Khmer saying that has been passed down through the generations: “Where there is water, there is fish.” Unfortunately, for over 5 years now, many fishermen have complained that they are catching more trash than fish. As Cambodia’s population increases, the amount of trash also increases, especially plastic waste. Some households that reside along the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers have decided to use the river to dispose of their trash. It is possible that people may not be aware that their daily household trash can become a death trap for fish at the bottom of the river. These photos, taken at the dai fishery in the Tonle Sap River, located in Sangkat Prek Tasek, Khan Chhouy Changva, Phnom Penh municipality, show the amount of trash that can be found in the river and the fish that are killed by this waste.

By considering an alternative way to dispose of your trash, you can be part of the solution. Please hold onto your trash in your home until the waste collectors come and take it away. You can also separate trash from recyclables, reduce the use of single plastic items, reuse current plastic items, and recycle and/or compost the waste from your kitchen. We need everyone working together to help preserve the health of our rivers and secure our high protein food sources for the future.

This post was written by Chea Seila for the Wonders of the Mekong project funded by USAID.