To celebrate today’s World Tree Day, local NGOs Mlup Baitong and Mith Samlan/ Friends will plant the first of 10,000 trees near Kirirom National Park.
Approximately 200 students and 50 monks will plant native species of trees in Phnom Sruich district, Kompong Speu province, where over-exploitation of resources has left a once-densely forested area “destroyed,” said Manuel Garcia, an environmental scientist working with Mlup Baitong. The organization, whose name means “green shade,” has several environmental education projects in three pagodas and 20 schools in the district.
It teaches police, monks, teachers, students and local officials about the importance of trees.
Trees provide medicine and fruit for local populations, and they also clean the air and water. Cambodia’s forests suffer from exploitation by the timber industry and locals who gather too much material to sell as firewood.
Garcia said Mlup Baitong is encouraging businesses to participate in projects such as the tree planting.
“We want to create a sort of interest from private enterprise companies in the environment,” he said.
Street children from Friends also will participate. Tuesday’s planting will only be ceremonial, because World Tree Day doesn’t fit in with Cambodia’s seasons.