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ANA policy on plants now includes growing into greener temple park

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Apsara National Authority (ANA) grounds crew remove plants growing on top of a temple. ANA

ANA policy on plants now includes growing into greener temple park

The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has begun to clear vegetation that has grown on temples in the Angkor Archaeological Park to improve their appearance and avoid the risk of damage to the ancient structures.

Ngin Thy, the official tasked with the work by the Department of Conservation of Monuments in the Angkor Park and Preventive Archaeology, said that there are some large plants such as Bo trees and Spung trees or Tetrameles trees that are among the plants growing on or around the temples.

“Those are trees that grow easily and grow quickly. So the team must pay attention to clearing them regularly and plan to remove them every six weeks to two months,” he said.

Ngin Thy added that the reason the plants grew on the temples was due to the wind and birds carrying seeds onto the temples with some of them inevitably taking root and growing each year.

Chhoeum Try, a landscaper and gardener working at the temples, said that his work there was done out of love for the ancient temples and he was proud that it was his duty to assist with their care so that they would still be standing for another thousand years.

He added that he’d now reached his 20th year on the job at the park and he was satisfied with his career despite facing some dangers from time to time while climbing the temple towers to get rid of hard to reach plant growth.

Cambodia Association of Travel Agents adviser Ho Vandy said that the preservation of national heritage was very important for attracting both domestic and international tourists.

“The team does this to preserve the temples and maintain their beauty for visitors in a way that is sustainable for the future,” he said.

He continued that overall, ANA has recently been busy maintaining and renovating the temples because the pandemic had given them the perfect opportunity to get the work done without inconveniencing tourists.

He also noted that visitors to the temples who’d seen them in the past and returned lately have praised the improvements made to the park through landscaping projects like planting trees.

“For dozens of years some of our most frequent visitors, like tour guides, have been asking for the preservation of the trees and planting of trees and other improvements like that and now they are finally seeing that happen.

“They can also see that around Angkor Wat there is now infrastructure, landscaping and well-maintained facilities and we’re now able to hold various exhibitions in that area,” he said.

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