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Kids fret over loss of trees

Kids fret over loss of trees

The biggest environmental issue on the minds of the country's children is

deforestation, if the pictures drawn by schoolchildren in Kampong Thom are any

indication.

The Cambodian NGO Mlup Baitong (Green Shadow) asked about

1,050 students from six secondary and high schools in the province to draw

pictures showing their own ideas about the environment.

More than 80 per

cent of the students depicted images of deforestation.

Srey Sothivuth,

16, a student from Norodom Ranariddh Sror Yov secondary school, drew a picture

of loaded logging trucks, tree stumps and a bare hillside. In the background

some big trees remained, but according to Sothivuth these were simply being left

to log later.

He was inspired by the view from his house.

"I used

to see many trucks carrying big logs and also I used to see the cutting on

television."

He said his picture focused on illegal logging and

destroying the environment. He hoped his picture would get adults, especially

loggers, to think about destroying nature.

"I strongly hope that my

picture will attract them [loggers] to stop their activities when they see it at

the exhibition."

Sothivuth explained that the trees with broken branches

in his picture had suffered in strong winds and had also been hit by other trees

that had been felled.

Sery Sokhany, who studies in grade 8 at Hun Sen

Balang high school, said the environment was very important for life. He added

that when the forest was destroyed it would cause drought, flood, storms and

climate change.

Heng Barom, Acting Director of Hun Sen Balang high

school, was very grateful for the students' ideas about the impact of the

environment on society.

"If we educate them they gain a maximum of about

70 per cent, but if it is a social issue, they learn a lot more. The students

plant, but bad people cut - this is bad in the view of the children," he

said.

Barom added that the pictures would give ideas to older people

about protecting the environment.

The children's pictures will now be put

on show in schools, pagodas, markets, restaurants, hotels and guest houses

around Kampong Thom town.

Organizers said Kampong Thom was chosen because

of the heavy logging in the area.

The pictures would be judged and the

winning painter would receive a tee-shirt and paints. All pictures had to be

from students' own ideas and not from books

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