Planning Minister wants more trees in Siem Reap

Lands Minister Chea Sophara has advocated for more trees to be planted to help fight climate change and reap the environmental benefits that trees provide.

He proposed that the green effort start with planting saplings in pagodas in Siem Reap province.

“I will suggest to the Chief Monk of Mohanikaya Sect of Siem Reap Province, Venerable Chum Kimleng, to implement this tree project and establish tree gardens in all pagodas in Siem Reap.

“I will follow up on this plan by writing to seek permission from Prime Minister Hun Sen for the pagodas to have tree gardens,” Sophara said at the inauguration of the Angkor Botanical Garden in Siem Reap recently.

Sophara said green spaces provide, among many other benefits, tranquility, reduce stress, reduce pollution, release oxygen, and provide food, protection and shelter for birds and mammals.

He added that he is not in favor of cutting down trees to make way for roads or any structure because it takes a long time for trees to grow.

Ven Kimleng, when contacted yesterday, described the tree garden vision as a good plan.

“I will order all pagoda head monks to plant trees in the pagoda compound. We will find the saplings or ask the Ministry of Environment or the Ministry of Agriculture for the saplings,” Ven Kimleng said.

“We will feed the young trees to help them grow.

“There are 249 pagodas in Siem Reap and I don’t think all of them will have room for a tree garden because the grounds of some premises have been cemented. And if the pagodas are full of stupas or other structures, I will order trees to be planted in the available spaces,” he said.

The head monk of Reach Bo Pagoda, Venerable Pin Sem, said that there are many trees in the compound of Reach Bo Pagoda, but he would ask his monks to plant more.

“Trees are important in Buddhism,” he said. Siem Reap environment department director Sin Kong said not all pagodas and schools in Siem Reap can have a tree garden or plant more trees as some are already full of trees.

However, he added that around 1,000 saplings could be planted in 10 schools and 10 pagodas in Siem Reap province.

“We will plant them after the communal elections,” he said.

Director of the Siem Reap education department, Ly Bunna, said there were 522 primary schools, 80 secondary schools and 44 secondary schools in the province, but half of the schools had no space to grow trees.

“Most schools have space, but trees should be planted away from buildings because we are concerned that trees will affect buildings and other school structures as they grow,” he said. .