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“How to Inspire Youth to Participate in Sustaining Clean City Activities In Terms of Better Improvement of Waste Management”

By Im Chanboracheat Wastes refer to materials which are no longer prime products, and are no longer usable for the production and consumption purposes. Wastes will soon be discarded or required to be discarded.1 Statistically, in 2008, 500,000 tons of wastes were collected in the urban areas of Cambodia.2 In addition, if these wastes are not properly managed, harmful effects will be occurred. Biologically, not all wastes can be rotten, and in the process of being rotten, those wastes may awfully smell and generate methane and other greenhouse gases. Consequently, those greenhouse gases will cause greenhouse effect which will lead to the increase of Earth’s temperature. 3Since wastes contain infectious agents, toxic or hazardous chemicals, and sharps, improper waste disposal can result in disease and injury. 4Beside environmental and health effects, wastes can also alter the country’s and city’s beauty. For this reason, it is our responsibility as students, teachers, businessmen, government workers, social workers, and ordinary people to avoid the hazardous effects, and keep our city clean. Demographically, in 2004, Cambodian youth (between the age of 15-24) comprised 24 percent of the country’s population and 32.4 percent of the country’s labor force.5 This statistics shows that youth is the important change-maker of the nation. As youth, and responsible citizens of Cambodia, we have to cooperate together, and motivate the others to participate in sustaining clean city

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OECD. 2009. Waste. Sokha, C. The foundation of 3r strategy in the kingdom of cambodia . Retrieved from http://www.env.go.jp/recycle/3r/en/forum_asia/results/pdf/20091111/21.pdf 3 Green choices - environmental impacts of waste disposal. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.greenchoices.org/green-living/waste-recycling/environmental-impacts 4 World health organization. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/medicalwaste/020to030.pdf 5 United nations country team. (2009). Situation analysis of youth in cambodia. 9. Retrieved from http://lib.ohchr.org/HRBodies/UPR/Documents/Session6/KH/UNCT_KHM_UPRS06_2009_document3.pdf

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activities. There are three creative ways to inspire youth to take part in sustaining clean city activities in terms of waste management. First and foremost, to be able to inspire the others, we have to begin with ourselves first. As youth or the citizens of a nation, we can all start changing our society to be a better place from now since we are the agents of change, and the future leaders of the nation. In terms of waste management, the 3R strategy is a very essential and useful strategy to put into practice. Instead of waiting for the related institutions or the stakeholders to take action, we as youth can start taking action by implementing simple solutions. We can practice reducing the amount of waste, reusing the products that can be reused, and recycling some products. In Cambodia, as you walk, or drive around, you will always see plastic bags being discarded on the ground and water sources. This problem has occurred due to the overuse of plastic bags. Once you step into the shop, and buy some products, your products will always be packaged using plastic bags. Even if you purchase a can of coke from the mart, you will also get a plastic bag. To combat this problem, we can refuse to accept the plastic bags. Imagine, if 24 percent of Cambodia’s population refuses to accept the plastic bags, the amount of plastic bags used daily, will be greatly reduced. Moreover, we can also reuse some products such as bottles, based on the useful life of the products as the product’s useful life is usually labeled on the product itself. What is more, we should also purchase the products that can be recycled. In Cambodia, there are some non-governmental organizations which work on recycling wastes such as cement packages, and plastic bags. These wastes can be recycled to be souvenirs. For this reason, we can save the plastic bags and the cement packages that we have used, and donate to those organizations. At the same time, while we are improving waste management, we are also improving the living conditions of poor people who are working for those recycling projects. As we practice the 3R strategy, we will become good

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examples for the other youth in the country since they will imitate our good habits. As they are inspired by our action, they will assist us in keeping our city clean. Secondly, we can also raise the public awareness of waste management in Cambodia. In this case, we can create a voluntary group and initiate activities related to waste management in Cambodia. We can conduct a campaign to educate people about waste management. For this reason, we can teach people or youth how to practice the 3R strategy, and waste division. Furthermore, we can also educate them about the harmful effects caused by improper waste disposal by raising the obvious examples in the context of our country. In initiating these activities, we can possibly get the assistance from the related institutions, and organizations. Once people are educated and taught about waste management, they will be aware of the problem, and they will learn to effectively manage and dispose wastes. Even if we cannot initiate the campaign by ourselves, we can also attend the clean-up campaigns which are annually organized by different institutions. Hence, upon our effort in raising awareness, youth will be motivated to take action. Thirdly, as we are living in the age of modern technology, we can build inspiration among youth by using multimedia. There are different sources of multimedia such as newspapers, magazines, leaflets, radio shows, and videos, and we can take advantages from the use of these sources of media. For instance, we can publish newspaper regarding environmental issues and waste management in Cambodia. The newspaper shall illustrate the simple strategy of waste management, and the importance of waste management. In addition, the newspaper shall include the column which talks about what we as Cambodian youth has done to improve waste management, and to sustain the clean environment of our country. Above all, the newspaper shall highlight the importance of youth involvement in the sustaining clean city activities. Once youth realizes the importance of their participation, they will be willing to take part in the initiatives. Moreover, we can produce videos related to the concerning
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issues, and get the videos published so that youth can get a clearer image of the problems and the solutions to those problems through motion pictures. We might also distribute the leaflets to students in different universities, and have the posters of waste management posted in schools and universities. What is more, we can create a social network page of our initiatives such as a Facebook page since Facebook is widely and commonly used among Cambodian youth, and it has become a very essential mean of communication. The page shall inform youth about the visions, missions, and goals of our initiatives, and keep them updated about our future events. In this occasion, we have to make sure that youth is well-informed through different sources of media. In conclusion, as the home to more than 2 million people6, Phnom Penh city is being contaminated by the improper municipal waste disposal. Plastic bags and papers are seen drifting around, and tons of rubbish is discarded alongside of the roads. The contamination affects both the health of people living in the area, and the beauty of the area. In order to encourage the improvement of waste management, and make the environment of our city clean, we as youth and the important change-makers bare the responsibility to combat the problems that we are all facing together. We have to firstly begin with ourselves before we can encourage the others to walk on the same journey with us. It does not take one or two days to make our city clean; however, with our commitment to make change, I believe that we can at least lessen the problem as Brooke Medicine Eagle said “There is hope if people will begin to awaken that spiritual part of them, that heartfelt knowledge that we are caretakers of this planet.” 7The work of a group of youth will soon inspire youth of the whole nation to take part. We cooperate together for the cleaner and the better Cambodia for us, our children, and our grandchildren.
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Phnom penh information . (2012). Retrieved from http://www.icebs.org/Phnom Penh.htm 30 inspirational environmental quotes. (2011, August 08). Retrieved from http://greenbuzz.net/environment/30-inspirational-environmental-quotes/

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References
1. 30 inspirational environmental quotes. (2011, August 08). Retrieved from http://greenbuzz.net/environment/30-inspirational-environmental-quotes/ 2. Eionet. (2009, January 16). Waste. Retrieved from http://scp.eionet.europa.eu/definitions/waste 3. Green choices - environmental impacts of waste disposal. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.greenchoices.org/green-living/waste-recycling/environmental-impacts 4. Phnom penh information. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.icebs.org/Phnom Penh.htm

5. Sokha, C. The foundation of 3r strategy in the kingdom of cambodia. Retrieved from
http://www.env.go.jp/recycle/3r/en/forum_asia/results/pdf/20091111/21.pdf 6. United nations country team. (2009). Situation analysis of youth in cambodia. 9. Retrieved from http://lib.ohchr.org/HRBodies/UPR/Documents/Session6/KH/UNCT_KHM_UPRS06 _2009_document3.pdf 7. World health organization. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/medicalwaste/020to030.pdf

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