Plans for the construction of regional seedling nurseries in five provinces have been completed and the facilities are set to begin cultivation next year, according to the Ministry of Environment.

The centres are planned for Tbong Khmum, Siem Reap, Kampong Speu, Koh Kong and Mondulkiri provinces.

“We have completed the construction plans for all the stations, and two plan maps have already been handed over: one for the station at Kulen Mountain and another for the one in Tbong Khmum. Seedling production will gradually begin next year,” ministry spokesman Khvay Atiya stated on June 14.

In addition to the five major regional stations, the ministry has urged environment departments nationwide to produce seedlings for distribution to their respective provinces starting from 2024. He noted that in the past 10 months, more than one million saplings have been planted, and environment minister Eang Sophalleth has personally provided an additional 300,000 palm saplings.

“The main goal is to ensure the promotion of the one million saplings campaign starting from 2024, and to support our goal of becoming a carbon-neutral country and increasing forest cover by 60 per cent by 2050,” Atiya said.

“We also want to enhance the greenness of our country. We encourage people to show their love of greenery by planting trees,” he added.

According to Atiya, the ministry is not just distributing saplings to the public, but also has a clear plan to manage and monitor the initiative through a mobile app called ‘App Chakra’. The ministry aims to launch the app at the end of June to track the growth and maintenance of trees after they are planted.

“After planting a tree, people will register it in the app to show their work … and monitor its growth,” he said.

The ministry is also organising an exhibition called ‘Ponlok Baitong’ (green growth) to promote and distribute seedlings from July 10-16 at the ministry. The programme is designed to display and distribute them to people for planting at home, schools, pagodas, and public and private places, free of charge.

Atiya noted the event also aims to meet the current needs of the country and align with global environmental trends, ensuring the protection and conservation of biodiversity and natural resources in protected areas are effective and sustainable. This aligns with the country’s goal of becoming carbon-neutral and achieving 60 per cent forest cover by 2050.

The spokesman said the tree distribution event will be held every year on July 10 from this year forward.

As for the promotion of the environment, the second campaign, “Keep Cambodia Sa’at (beautiful), Khmer can do” has received support and participation from the public since its launch in May.

The ministry strongly believes that the campaign will be as successful as its first one, “Today I will not use plastic”, which garnered the support of more than eight million Cambodians. So far, 114 communes have participated in the second initiative, according to the ministry.