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New Cambodia Megacity Threatens Wetlands, Livelihoods

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia

More than a million people across Phnom Penh, Cambodia, face the risk of increased flooding according to a July 2020 human rights and social impact assessment of development of the 2,500 hectare satellite ING City to the capital’s South. Developers, with government support, are filling wetlands which store rain and wastewater with sand dredged from the Mekong and Bassac rivers to prepare for construction.

Over one thousand more families are at risk of evictions, loss of income and food insecurity as the ING City and other unsustainable developments destroy the Tompoun/Cheung Ek wetlands, according to “Smoke on the Water: A human rights and social impact assessment of the destruction of the Tompoun/Cheung Ek wetlands”, produced by an alliance of local land rights and human rights groups - Sahmakum Teang Tnaut, Equitable Cambodia, Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights, and the Cambodia Youth Network, which identifies ING Holdings and other private corporations including Chip Mong, AEON Mall, Orkide Villa, and Borey Peng Huoth.

Human rights and environmental groups surveyed 469 families living in or using the wetlands area and its rivers. The resulting report sheds light on the potentially devastating impacts of destroying 1,500 hectares of wetlands that sustain local communities and play a vital role in Phnom Penh’s waste management and flood prevention.