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NGO urges closure of Kampong Speu logging roads

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Environmental watchdog ACNCIPO director Chea Hean (second right) poses for a photograph with Kampong Speu provincial authorities during an inspection for illegal timber transportation. Supplied

NGO urges closure of Kampong Speu logging roads

Environmental watchdog ACNCIPO director Chea Hean has requested the service of Kampong Speu provincial officials to help close logging roads in the Phnom Oral Wildlife Sanctuary and the Central and Southern Cardamom National Parks.

According to Hean’s request on Tuesday, ACNCIPO has been conducting investigations at the Otrao, Sre Ken, Phnom Touch, Teuk Pos and Kharal offices within the parks, as well as other sub-offices.

Hean said in his letter that the illegal transportation of lumber by carts and automobiles is still happening, and the perpetrators often pass by the offices but aren’t stopped.

He said deforestation is taking place at the border of Thma Bang and Sre Ambel districts in Koh Kong province and Pursat province’s Kravanh and Veal Veng districts.

There’s also signs of deforestation in Kampong Speu province, the letter said.

“Therefore, from April 2, ACNCIPO will work with environmental protection officers at each office to block the logging roads in the wildlife sanctuary and national parks.

“This measure will encourage environmental protection officers to implement the regulatory laws in place aimed at protecting the area,” his letter said.

Hean told The Post on Wednesday that he had already submitted the letter to the provincial Department of Environment at a Tuesday meeting, asking for all the logging roads to be closed in the protected areas.

He said after closing the entrances to the wildlife sanctuary, his team, together with rangers, would patrol the area to locate the offenders.

Recently the lumbering activities had begun to rebound, he said, as officials were busy with fighting against Covid-19.

Provincial governor Vei Samnang said he welcomed any civil society organisation (CSO) that wants to help protect natural resources, as it is the common property of all Cambodians.

He said officials have tried to remain vigilant against forest crimes, but they were still being reported. He welcomed greater involvement to help protect the forest and natural resources.

“I understand that cracking down on these crimes is important, but we need more people involved, as well as transportation, money, and food to take action.

“We have a limited number of officials and our budget is limited as well. So we expect the participation of the private sector and CSOs to take care of our forests,” he said.

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