A senior official at the Ministry of Environment has announced that more than 700,000 saplings are being grown for distribution to the public. They will be planted in public spaces, including schools and pagodas.

Ministry spokesman Khay Atitya explained that more than 400,000 mixed saplings are being prepared by environment departments across the country, while more than 300,000 palm saplings will be provided by minister Eang Sophalleth.

He said that since the “One million tree” campaign was initiated by the minister on October 10 last year, more than 410 saplings have been sown by the environment departments, in an effort to reach the target of one million new trees per year. The overall aim is to achieve 60 per cent forest cover by 2050.

“We expect that the one million tree campaign will be successful, because our officials in the capital and provinces are growing many different kinds of tree to share with the public. The next big distribution of saplings will take place in July, when the rains arrive,” he added.

“For the start of the initiative until February 10, the ministry had already distributed over 200,000 luxury timber and fruit tree saplings to people. They have been planted all around their communities,” he continued.

Chum Huot, director of the Lover Environment and Society Association, supported the million tree campaign, believing it will contribute to forest protection and create more income for local people. 

He said more trees in communities will make public areas cleaner and greener, and will attract tourists, generating income.

His added that his association will join the ministry and plant trees in schools and pagoda, as well as other suitable public places.

The ministry has launched its Circular Strategy on environment 2023-28, which focuses on cleanliness, greenness and sustainability. 

The strategy also targets improved forest cover.

To ensure the 60 per cent target is accomplished, Sophalleth has committed to pursuing legal action against all instances of natural resource crimes.