Environmental authorities shut down a private company’s activities in Preah Sihanouk province late last week, after they discovered hectares of mangrove forest had been uprooted and filled in with soil.
Nharl Sithorn, owner of the eponymous company, had cleared a large tract of land and indiscriminately destroyed the homes of a vast array of marine wildlife, according to Sihanouk province’s Fishery Administration director Nen Chamroeun.
“Our fishery authorities have decided to ban the vehicles temporarily until there is a new solution from the provincial authorities,” Chamroeun said.
“The company received the right to dredge the river to open the waterway, not fill the flooded area with soil.”
The company had been issued a licence to dredge a natural river near Otres Beach in a bid to increase water flow.
Sithorn admitted in an interview that he had filled in the area in order to build a road, which would then give his heavy-duty vehicles access to the river to complete dredging.
“If we do not fill it in with soil, we will not be able to bring the excavator into the area,” he said.