Green Songkran – an event being organised in Kampong Speu province by a group of environmental activists to celebrate the upcoming Khmer New Year while promoting public awareness on the environment – not only showcases Cambodian culture and traditions but is also an occasion to inspire people to help protect the environment and natural resources, according to Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra.

Public participation is a contribution to the government's efforts in promoting the local economy by creating jobs and generating incomes for the communities, Pheaktra said while presiding over the event in Trapaing Chor commune of the province's Oral district on April 8.

The event is being organised by Baitong Warriors, or Green Warriors, in the Boeung Lvea area – a potential ecotourism site, according to Pheaktra.

He noted that in Trapaing Chor commune, there are abundant community forest and natural lakes which offer great potentials for ecotourism. Baitong Warriors have supported the community and uplifted the livelihood of the local people through ecotourism, thereby reducing their dependence on nature. The group's works have received support from the ministry and Kampong Speu Provincial Administration.

“Residents in Trapaing Chor have inherited natural heritage, and that is Boeung Peam Lvea, a community forest surrounded by mountains. These are invaluable natural resources that never dry up and that create jobs for community people through ecotourism,” he said.

But to exploit their potentials, Pheaktra called on all people to contribute to the preservation of natural resources, forest and wildlife in the area.

Baitong Songkran is being celebrated with exhibition stalls to showcase community products from Trapaing Chor commune. Also on display are products made of waste, snares, homemade guns and chainsaws which had been used to commit forestry crime over the years.

Tan Kim Sour, the Baitong Sangkran organiser, said this event aims to contribute to the promotion of Cambodian culture and tradition as part of Khmer New Year celebrations as well as forest conservation.

Deputy provincial governor Sor Soputra said: “We support all initiatives that promote this Boeung Lvea region as an attractive ecotourism site.”