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Phnom Penh to hire homeless to collect trash

Workers collecting trash in Phnom Penh. (Michael Coghlan/flickr/cc)

Cambodia’s capital plans to hire 60 homeless people to push carts around the city’s parks collecting trash.

Deputy Municipal Governor Ing Aunny tells The Cambodia Daily  that mobile trash bins are preferable because stationary receptacles must be constantly emptied, adding that “people do not want to put their hands into the bins because it smells bad.” According to the article, the trash workers would have the authority to fine egregious litterers.

Among Asia’s least developed countries, Cambodia has a per-capita income that equates to just over US$1,000 a year, according to the World Bank. Nearly 18 percent of the population lives below the national poverty line.

The cart pushers are to be hired from among the indigents and mentally ill rounded up by the city and sent to the controversial Prey Speu center. The Phnom Penh Post notes here that critics portray the “social affairs” facility as a de facto prison. A human rights activist calls the move to recruit trash collectors at the center “a good thing” as long as the work is voluntary.

The Cambodia Daily

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