Government Approves More Buildings on One of Phnom Penh’s ‘Last Lakes’

Fifteen more hectares of one of Phnom Penh’s “last lakes” will be filled in to make way for government buildings, according to a decree signed two days before authorities arrested environmental youth activists campaigning for the lake’s preservation.

Mother Nature activists Thun Ratha, Long Kunthea and Phuong Keorasmey were arrested on Thursday while planning a campaign video of Kunthea marching alone from Wat Phnom to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house to raise awareness about Tamok lake. The lake, in the city’s north, has been highlighted as one of just two major wetlands left in the capital, vital as a flood protector but “on the brink of elimination” due to urban development.

In a Council of Ministers decree dated September 1 and circulated over the weekend, the government approved new buildings for the National Committee for Disaster Management, Cambodian Human Rights Committee and Cambodian Mine Action Authority on an area of the lake in Prek Pnov district’s Kok Roka commune.

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