Presided over by H.E. Dr. Eang Sophalleth, Minister of Environment, High Representative of Samdech Moha Borvor Thipadei HUN MANET, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Phnom Penh, 20th March 2024: Leader Energy Holding Berhad (Leader Energy) and River Ocean Cleanup (ROC) have officially kicked off a transformative Five-Year Cambodia Rivers Cleanup Mission in Phnom Penh, aimed at addressing the pressing environmental challenges facing Cambodian waterways.

The collaborative endeavour between Leader Energy and ROC, which commenced in late 2023, represents a crucial step towards safeguarding the ecological integrity of Cambodia’s vital water bodies. This concerted initiative is slated to run until 2028 and encompasses a comprehensive plan comprising river cleanup operation along the Mekong, Tonlé Sap, and Bassac Rivers, as well as educational programs targeting local communities.

With a sponsorship totalling USD 466,000, Leader Energy’s commitment to this mission highlights its dedication to environmental stewardship and being a responsible corporate citizen. This financial support will enable the implementation of various initiatives, such as job creation for the local community, active collaboration with community stakeholders for awareness activities, and research efforts to enhance waste management. Furthermore, this mission will benefit from the enthusiastic participation of Leader Energy’s employees.

Key components of the sponsorship include the provision of workboats and mini trucks to support river cleanup efforts, the employment of local communities as cleaning agents for riverbank restoration, and the delivery of comprehensive waste management awareness programmes to schools and communities situated along the rivers and nearby Leader Energy operational areas.

Leader Energy, functioning as an independent power producer (IPP), adheres to ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) principles in its business. This commitment lays the foundation for a partnership with ROC, a non-profit organisation to initiate this mission in Phnom Penh, Kandal, Kampong Cham, and
Kratie provinces, which began in October 2023.

Within a very short period, from October 2023 to March 2024, 80 tons of waste have been removed from the rivers in Phnom Penh through the sponsorship of specialized debris buster boats and engagement with local affected communities along the rivers as Clean Agents. This figure significantly adds to the 1,693.09 tons of waste that ROC had collected over the past years.

Engaging in riverine debris collection serves as a pivotal step in fostering community ownership and paving the way for rivers that are free from plastic pollution. To achieve this goal, the mission will improve the socio-economic status of affected communities along the rivers and foster collaboration with local
government authorities, schools, and universities.

H.E. Dr. Eang Sophalleth, Minister of Environment, High Representative of Samdech Moha Borvor Thipadei HUN MANET, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia commented, “This mission is in line with the Pentagonal Strategy to build and strengthen the foundations to accelerate national development, and supporting MoE’s Circular strategies, Clean, Green and Sustainable contributing to Clean Water, Plastic Reduction Campaigns and Sustainable Development Goals.”

Dato’ Sean H’ng Chun Hsiang, Executive Deputy Chairman of Leader Energy added, “Our partnership with ROC reflects our steadfast commitment to promoting Circular Economy and Care for Communities. Through this mission, we aim to not only mitigate the detrimental impacts of pollution on Cambodia’s waterways but also empower local communities to become stewards of their natural environment.”

Mr. Sovann Nou, Executive Director of River Ocean Cleanup said, “We can clean all legacy wastes from the rivers and riverbank within 5 to 6 years, but to keep river clean, waste management infrastructure, education and law reinforcement are the key.”

Rivers are the lifeblood of our ecosystems. They provide sustenance to countless species, supporting agriculture, and as a source of life for communities. Unfortunately, many rivers today face the threat of pollution, endangering not only the delicate balance of nature but also the livelihoods of those who depend on these water bodies. This pollution, whether it be chemical, plastic, or industrial waste, endangers not only the delicate balance of nature but also the livelihoods of those who depend on these water bodies. The commitment to river cleanup reflects our values as responsible corporate citizens.

To ensure a sustainable impact, the mission goes beyond merely cleaning up waste from the rivers. All collected waste will be environmentally treated at a local Waste-to-Energy facility, through co-processing solutions. The upcoming priority from the partnership between Leader Energy and ROC is to raise awareness of basic waste management, integrating it into school and community programmes. This initiative will be strengthened by a comprehensive framework involving research studies and volunteering programs to foster a deeper understanding and commitment to responsible waste management practices.

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