Published on May 17, 2017
Phnom Penh, one of the fastest growing cities in Asia, is facing challenges in waste management as a result of rapid expansion. The city's waterways are filled with litter, making it difficult to see the water's surface beneath the piles of trash. The presence of garbage on the streets negatively affects the quality of life, worsens traffic congestion, poses health risks to citizens, and diminishes the city's overall appearance. The accumulation of waste also contributes to increased flooding and harms the native ecosystems of nearby rivers, canals, and lakes.
Recognizing the need for action, the newly formed 'Go Green' initiative believes that the pollution problem caused by human activities can be addressed through the use of an app that harnesses the power of mobile phones, maps, and social media. Their goal is to raise awareness about human impact on the environment and engage community members, fostering a change in attitude and behavior.
Apart from identifying areas in need of cleaning, the interactive features of the application will incentivize individuals to get involved and educate users through pollution-related messages. The app will serve as a tool to better coordinate 'green' activists, allowing them to organize their efforts and connect with like-minded citizens.
The 'Go Green' smartphone application will provide users with the following features:
Reporting on areas that require cleaning
Confirming areas that are clean
Creating a map with marked locations of garbage bins and areas where they are needed
Gamifying the experience by offering badges, points for participation, and challenges to compete with friends for the highest score
Organizing group clean-up events
Seamlessly sharing updates from the app to social media
To ensure the success of the Go Green project, the founders have forged strong and sustainable partnerships with local businesses and ministries, including the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Tourism, Cambodian Hotels Association, youth groups, Phnom Penh municipalities, the American Embassy, and hotels and businesses in Phnom Penh.
Ms. Natalja Rodionova, Managing Director of IT ACADEMY STEP and co-founder of the Go Green volunteers' group, expressed her enthusiasm for the Go Green app collaboration with the InSTEDD iLab SEA team, stating, "We believe that this simple tool will help us attract attention to the pollution problem in Phnom Penh, reaching more people and, hopefully, municipalities. We can't keep waiting for someone else to solve the problem; we need to take action into our own hands and demonstrate our care for the environment and our footprint."
Ms. Channé Suy Lan, Regional Lead of the InSTEDD iLab Southeast Asia, emphasized the goal of creating a contagion of care to combat the contagious behavior of littering. The aim is to mobilize cleaning efforts and create a movement that brings lasting change to the community. Together, they aspire to make Phnom Penh a cleaner, more livable city with the Go Green initiative.
Stay tuned to the InSTEDD blog for updates on Go Green and other solutions from the ICT4D Solution Incubator Cambodia, a project made possible with support from the SPIDER Center, the Swedish Program for ICT in Developing Regions.