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Restoration or legal action, district governor warns

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People who filled in more than 1ha of mangroves in Sihanoukville have been warned to restore the area to its former state. SUPPLIED

Restoration or legal action, district governor warns

People who filled in more than a hectare of mangroves in Preah Sihanouk province to plant coconut trees have been given a month to restore the area to its former state or face legal action, Stung Hav district governor told The Post on Tuesday.

“We went there to order them to stop encroaching on land in the area. After the Committee for Development Areas inspected the location on Monday, authorities have ordered them to put a complete halt to their activities, remove the filled-in land and replant the mangroves.

“In accordance with procedure, we gave them a maximum of a month to do so. If they do not, we will forward the case to court,” Chhay Sokunda said.

The mangroves in the coastal Poy Yeay Mi and Poy Tabaraing areas in Keo Phos commune were filled in by locals for farming and the planting of coconut trees, the Stung Hav district governor said.

A provincial working group headed by Ny Phally, secretary-general of the National Committee for Coastal Management and Development, inspected the area and found the clearing of mangroves, which are state property.

Phally called on locals to protect the “gems of Cambodia’s natural resources”.

“Help us preserve our natural resources so we don’t lose valuable land, rivers and mangroves. These are the gems of our natural resources, and they bring in tourists,” he said.

Director of the Cambodian National Research Organisation Sok Sokhom said: “Activities like this are in breach of the Law on Fisheries. Authorities endeavour to stop such action, but the filling in of land still happens all the time.

“The mangroves are places of incredible biodiversity, and if we destroy them, we will lose priceless natural resources,” he said.

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