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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Heed the Alarm Sound of Nature

Heed the Alarm Sound of Nature

In earlier times, drought, which caused food shortages for the farmers, was thought

to have been caused by the anger of the gods.

However, in the last few years, throughout the world, including some areas of Cambodia,

gods have not been causing such incidents-rather it is humans themselves, to put

it straightforwardly, who are causing the destruction of forests.

Some years lately, even in September which is known as a rainy month, a mini-dry

season occurs in the middle of the monsoon season. During this time clouds of dust

can be seen blowing in the air in the rice-producing provinces of Battambang, Prey

Veng and Takeo, not to mention Kompot, Kompong Som, Koh Kong, and the northeastern

region which is covered with forests that attract some rain.

Hundreds of thousands of cubic meters of trees in the east, the west and the northwest

of Cambodia have been cut off every year.

This is the main factor which contributes to the changing of the weather in the country

from normal to hotter and hotter. And it is nothing less than human beings who provoke

such problems.

As more and more deforested land is exposed to sunlight and reflection, the temperature

rises more and more. This also constitutes an alarm signal from nature to human beings

that their over-exploitation is placing a heavy burden on nature and must be stopped

or reduced if more disasters of even greater proportion are to be avoided.

To avoid serious problems which might be inflicted on our nation, the deforestation

must be curtailed or, better still, stopped immediately.

Such fearsome, sorrowful activity should not be ignored and it is very necessary

for the authorities to launch more effective measures to deal with this problem.

Alarm signals appear to have fallen on deaf ears among authorities and decisions

makers, however. Despite the logging ban passed in the aftermath of last year's devastating

flood, illegal logging still continues unabated in vast parts of the country.

According to a document on the protection of Cambodia's environment drafted by the

United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the State of Cambodia has exported 320,000

cubic meters of timber, the Khmer Rouge has exported 200,000 cubic meters, FUNCINPEC

has exported 128,000 cubic meters and the KPNLF has exported 50,000 cubic meters.

Moreover, 250,000 cubic meters have been exported illegally to Vietnam and 200,000

cubic meters have been exported illegally to Thailand through Laos, not to mention

the cutting of trees for construction and fuelwood in the countryside.

The document also affirms that, from l985 to l991, the State of Cambodia planted

saplings over 2,062 hectares of land and in l992 it plans to grow 2,000 more hectares.

According to this document, we see that the number of trees planted every year does

not correspond to the increasing number of trade contracts with foreign companies

in the coming years.

Worse still, it is very hard to find somebody who could be responsible for this matter

because the big companies earn lots of money and they conceive so many tactful ideas

to make the laws ineffective and the only thing they would blame was "the war."

During the l960s, the Arbor Day was observed every year and after a long hiatus it

was held again this year on July 9, under the leadership of Prince Norodom Sihanouk.

The very small opinion of the people would like to appeal again and again to all

the Khmer factions to be responsible, with a high sense of awareness, for the solution

to this matter and to properly respond to the estimation of the country's nature.
- Reprinted with permission from Pracheachun newspaper, July 12 edition.



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