The Environment Ministry held a tree-planting drive in Kampong Thom province to mark Valentine’s Day by encouraging youths to love and protect natural resources.
“Valentine’s Prey Lang: We Love the Environment and Natural Resources” was held on Friday and Saturday in the province’s Prey Lang protected area and attracted hundreds of attendees.
A religious ceremony was held to mark five huge trees and protect them from being cut down. Attendees were also told about the importance of biodiversity and steps being taken to preserve the ecosystem in the protected area.
Sao Sopheap, a ministry secretary of state, said during the event that it was aimed to inspire officials and the public, especially youths, to take part in activities to conserve natural resources and preserve the ecosystem for the benefit of society.
“Youths can play an important role in educating the public on the need to protect natural resources,” he said.
The government established the Prey Lang protected area in 2016, under the management of the Ministry of Environment, which covers 430,000 hectares spanning Stung Treng, Preah Vihear, Kampong Thom and Kratie provinces.
According to the Environment Ministry, the Kingdom is rich in natural resources and biodiversity. Fifty percent of the country is covered in forest, the highest rate in Southeast Asia. To date, the government has increased the number of protected areas, under the management of the ministry, to cover about 41 percent of the country’s forests, equivalent to about 7.2 million hectares.
Seng Ratha, co-founder of Prey Lang’s Youth League, speaking at the event, said that the Valentine’s Day campaign focussed public awareness on the need to love and preserve natural resources.
“It enabled the public, especially the youth, to enjoy Prey Lang forest’s environment and hear explanations from officials about steps being taken to preserve it,” he said.