Ahead of the National Environmental Sanitation Day on November 23, the Kep Provincial Administration has planted 6,000 mangrove trees in and around Thmey village’s fishing community. The overarching theme for this environmental endeavour is “clean house, clean environment, society, peace, economic growth”, with a primary focus on safeguarding biodiversity and the local ecosystem.

Governor Som Piseth highlighted the significance of this initiative on November 1, saying the 6,000 mangrove trees represent a substantial addition to the area near the fishing community, an effort led by the provincial environment department. This marks the fourth occasion that the department has contributed to the proliferation of green cover in this ecotourism-oriented community.

“Mangrove forests fulfil a pivotal role in maintaining the equilibrium of coastal ecosystems. They absorb carbon dioxide and other pollutants, act as a natural barrier against storms and erosion, mitigate landslides and provide a robust breeding ground for marine fish,” he explained.

He expressed concerns about the potential loss of these resources, which could result in the depletion of natural habitats, a reduction in seafood supplies, declining fishery output and a significant impact on human well-being and the national economy.

Piseth also highlighted that the mangrove planting initiative serves as a call to action for people to be more environmentally conscious and promote biodiversity along the coast, thereby enhancing the region’s appeal to attract more visitors.

Environment department director In Sao said that his team had previously conducted three mangrove planting campaigns in 2022, leading to the introduction of 1,200 additional trees.

“This year, the department distributed 1,500 saplings of luxury trees to schools, pagodas, and various provincial departments and units. In collaboration with the provincial administration and partners, we also planted 550 saplings of luxury and fruit trees at the landfill site,” he said.

Environment minister Eang Sophalleth has initiated a campaign aiming to plant a minimum of one million trees annually. He has called upon all capital and provincial environment departments to engage in this initiative by distributing at least 100,000 saplings to the public and local communities.

He has encouraged individuals to partake in tree planting, forest restoration and the preservation of woodlands and the natural environment. These efforts are intended to enhance forest coverage and enable the sale of carbon credits, which in turn contribute to increased income for communities.