Cambodia is seeking to double its amount of tourists from 6 millions in 2018 to 12 millions in 2025, which will lead to a significant increase in plastic waste.
From single-use toiletries, plastic water bottles, straws, Styrofoam boxes, or plastic bags and packaging, the tourism industry, and in particular hotels, is a major contributor to plastic waste.
According to the UNEP Environmental Report 2011, “in a ‘business-as-usual’ scenario, tourism would generate through 2050 an increase of 251% in solid waste disposal”.
However, with this increase in waste comes significant environmental and social impacts on the Khmer population, its environmental and the tourism industry. This is why we are calling hotels to pledge to reduce their plastic waste by 2021.
With the increase of waste comes heightening health issues (respiratory issues, cancer) due to toxic fumes from burnt plastic. We also ingest plastic particles via food and water.
Plastic waste lying around on the streets and dumpsites gathers water and creates the perfect breeding grounds for mosquitos, increasing mosquito-borne diseases (e.g. dengue)
As plastic is made of petrol, its production aggravates climate change. This is worrisome in a country deemed the most vulnerable to climate change impacts amongst the lower Mekong Bassin countries.
Plastic also threatens the biodiversity, as marine animals die from plastic they eat from water bodies.
Plastic waste impacts severely the perception of Cambodia and leads to lost business opportunities. In 2015, the Cambodia Hotel Association estimated annual foregone tourist revenues to be around $74 million due to poor sanitation, which includes poor waste management.
Under a “business-as-usual” scenario, the Global Green Growth Institute mentioned that Phnom Penh will become an “increasingly unattractive city“, notably because of high pollution level.
Tourists are also increasingly raising their concerns about plastic waste on social media (Facebook, TripAdvisor), and don’t hesitate to highlight the hotels who are not taking actions to reduce their plastic waste.
This year almost 5,000 people signed a petition for hotels and restaurants to reduce their plastic waste in Cambodia (which can still be signed!)
TripAdvisor reviews about plastic waste in Cambodian places and hotels
For the above reasons, we are calling hotels to pledge to reduce their plastic waste by 2021*.
We are asking hotels to commit to reducing their plastic consumption in the following areas:
We ask hotels taking this pledge to report on the actions they are planning to take. We also ask them to report on the result every 4 months until 2021. You can see here the type of report that hotels will be asked to fill in.
On our end, we commit to sharing the list of hotels who take the pledge on our website and share it on our social media. We also commit to share the results of the actions taken by hotels.
Lastly, we created and regularly update a toolkit for hotels to reduce their plastic waste, which include the list of suppliers and partners that can help you in your journey.
* The deadline has been set for January 2021. This would leave time for hotels to implement these actions and communicate efficiently to their employees and customers about them.
Sign up before September 15th to register your interest to take the pledge. Even if your hotel has already reduced its plastic use, you can still register to take on more actions and get visibility for your efforts!
Feel free to use this form if you have any questions beforehand.
These are hotels in Cambodia already taking actions to reduce their plastic waste in their facilities and/or signing the pledge to reduce their plastic waste.
Clean Green Cambodia is platform gathering sustainable initiatives in the country. We also aim to encourage all actors, including individuals, businesses, schools, and other initutions to improve their environmental and social impact. Discover our platform by clicking here.
* Find Chris Hall pictures on her website here