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Last month saw the launch of GoGreen Cambodia, the country’s first eco-friendly clean-up mobile phone app that everyone can use to improve their environment.

The simple-to-use app allows users to indicate whether their area is clean, untidy or needs more rubbish collection points by simply pinning smiling or unhappy faces or an image of a rubbish bin to places that are short of them.

Created by GoGreen Cambodia in collaboration with InSTEDD iLab Southeast Asia, and the support the Ministry of Environment and Phnom Penh Municipality, the app updates Google Maps with real-time data, and also allows users to collaborate with their neighbours to create community clean-ups and take an active role in reducing rubbish around the city. Most importantly, the app can be used as an educational tool sending environmental awareness messages to users.

The start-up’s goal is to increase awareness of human impacts on the environment, and to challenge attitudes and behaviours while encouraging people to take simple, conscious steps towards protecting their environment.

Speaking to the Khmer Times at the launch, one of the company’s co-founders, Natalja Rodionova, said it allows people to be aware of their environment and rate the cleanliness of their community. “In order to see changes and progress, we should not wait for someone to do things for us. We have to act by ourselves,” she said. “If everyone uses this, the City Hall or Ministry of Environment will also have access to the data gathered by the app. This is how the government will see the changes they need to implement,” she added.

The launch was opened by, H.E. Ngin Lina, general director of the Department of Environmental Knowledge and Information of the Ministry of Environment, who emphasised that environmental conditions are continuously affected by human activity. “So far, the ministry has made lots of campaigns regarding to the consequences of a dirty environment. We asked for help from the media to create a platform for open discussions on environmental awareness. We want to urge people to join our campaign and host activities that will benefit the environment. We have also infused this campaign to the curriculum so many students will be fully aware of the government’s advocacy. The youth should be the catalyst of change,” said Ms Lina.

In order to give the app maximum impact and reach, the creators have forged partnerships with government departments, including the Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Tourism, NGOs, Cambodia Hotels Association, youth groups and Phnom Penh Municipality, all of which have contributed to the final product.

GoGreen Cambodia believes that this simple tool will help attract attention to Phnom Penh’s current waste management services in a user-friendly way allowing it to reach more people. They invite people to take actions into their own hands and show others how to recognise and care about their impact on the environment.

The application is currently only available on Android platforms, as over 80% of mobile users in Cambodia use Android. An IOS application is in planning.

Ms. Natalia Rodionova, co-founder of GoGreen Cambodia said, “GoGreen started organising cleanups in Phnom Penh in 2016 and collected thousands of kilos of garbage. But the job is not done. A change in actions and attitudes is really needed. That is why we were excited to develop a user friendly and impactful GoGreen app with InSTEDD iLab SEA team.”

Channé Suy Lan, Regional Lead of InSTEDD iLab Southeast Asia said, “If littering is a contagious behaviour, our goal is to create a contagion of care, to join cleaning efforts and to create a movement to create lasting change in the community.”