In Cambodia they spread it on bikes!

We heard a rumour that in Cambodia they have a special team - Biking team. The big day is very close now - Phnom Penh is going to be cleaned up already on 28th of August!  So what do they do with the bikes and how are the preparations for the big event going in Cambodia? We talked to the Biking team leader Mr. Dary Rithy to find out...

Q: What is the situation in Cambodia regarding waste management and littering?

Much fund has been spent, and in many areas its not the authority who fail to collect the trash. It's the residents who keep trashing in most inappropriate places. Much effort is needed to improve the situation, in both directions - first in how the authority collects trash and secondly how the people respond to keep the community clean.

Q: What is the biggest issue for the local communities regarding waste management?

Trash separating is not in place yet. Both organic and inorganic are in the same bin. And often, the private contracted trash collectors are late and do not have enough bins for the growing population.

Q: What difference can a civic movement create?

Let's Do It is one of the first civic activities done by young active citizens I have seen. Pls note that most are done by paid NGOs and Government programs. So while it is still too early to tell the effect now, I am confident to say this activity has inspired youth to participate in volunteerism, to contribute to common cause, which you have never seen before in Cambodia.

Q: Why did you get involved personally?

It is "fun" and "mentally rewarding" to be involved with a group of successful young professionals and entrepreneurs. It's friendship, networking and helping our communities.

Q: What have you been doing with bikes to spread the word? Where did you get the idea?

We have had this weekly cycling activities for a few months until now for good health. The original idea is to combine sport and greening. There have been small teams of cycling teams here and there. Because there can be a nice mix between cycling and greening the environment, we think it would give us a tremendous benefits to unit the small cycling teams to join our clean-up programs. They can exercise for good health, meet new friends with same cycling passions, and the same time displaying civic act of picking up trash along the way, wherever they go, to show the residents the examples not having been shown often on mainstream media and at grass root level.

Q: How do people respond to this?

They like the cycling ideas and started joining in. A few friends bought the bicycles. Please note that we do not only cycle to raise awareness, but also have asked some famous people to do some nice photoshoots to make posters, in order to promote the Let's Do It action. And when the stars with a few thousand fans join, you can imagine, it's not just another typical volunteering activity.

Q: Has anything surprising happened during these trips?

Not much surprise, but fun to see how people react to our trash picking and how they start conversations about trash along the way. They stop and smile to us.

Q: What has happened since you started? Have there already been some effects?

Our cycling team have become bigger, we get more volunteers, even the governor joined in cycling. Media starts paying more attention to our activities, and of course, those who have joined and heard about us are actually littering less than before. Instead they come and help us to educate the other people who litter.

Q: What are your plans for the future?

We hope our inspired volunteers will continue the clean-up activity in the coming years.

Q: What is your dream for Cambodia? For your local community?

Everyone participate in cleaning our environment, and be the change they want to see - because the change starts from ourselves.


To see how it is going in Cambodia, check out their facebook page or have a look at some videos: