Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Battle over mangrove sees SEZ trump NGO

Battle over mangrove sees SEZ trump NGO

Authorities inspect a construction site in Preah Sihanouk province in February after discovering hectares of mangrove forest had been filled in with soil. Photo supplied
Authorities inspect a construction site in Preah Sihanouk province in February after discovering hectares of mangrove forest had been filled in with soil. Photo supplied

Battle over mangrove sees SEZ trump NGO

A special economic zone developer will be allowed to continue bulldozing a mangrove forest in Preah Sihanouk province’s Teuk Thla commune, the provincial governor said yesterday.

Civil society groups had persuaded the provincial Fisheries Administration to ask the governor to protect the ecosystem, which is important for fish breeding.

But the governor said the Bin Hai Special Economic Zone, currently under construction by tycoon Hean Kheang, has a legitimate land title and the area is no longer state property.

“They have the land title and they asked for the development and we cannot stop them,” Governor Yon Min said yesterday.

Bin Hai and its owner could not be reached for comment.

According to a statement by the provincial fisheries office, 1,000 hectares of mangrove forest have been provided to the SEZ to develop. The call to protect the area came from the NGO Cambodia National Research Organisation, its director Sok Sokhom said yesterday.

Unchecked development in mangrove forests decreases fish populations “exponentially”, which spreads poverty through nearby communities, according to Alex Gonzalez-Davidson, founder of environmental advocacy group Mother Nature.

Kao Dana, director of the forestry management office at the Forestry Administration, said mangroves are especially vulnerable this year. Wildfires have decimated thousands of hectares of flooded forests as their waters recede due to drought.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Full country reopening to be decided in two weeks

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced that if the Covid-19 situation remains stable for 15 consecutive days from the end of the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, Cambodia will reopen fully, albeit in the context of Covid-19 whereby people have to adjust their lives to

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia seeks probe into 'false reports' on Hun Sen's alleged Cypriot passport

    Minister of Justice Koeut Rith on September 6 wrote a letter to his Cypriot counterpart Stephie Dracos requesting cooperation in investigating and providing the truth in relation to the "exaggerative and false allegations" that Prime Minister Hun Sen holds a Cypriot passport. In his letter, the