The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration is preparing to plant 100,000 tree saplings to establish a national park around Boeung Tamok Lake in northern Phnom Penh to make it a green environment and preserve it as a place of natural heritage for future generations.

Municipal governor Khuong Sreng told The Post on March 15 that 100,000 thnong tree saplings – also known by its scientific name Pterocarpus macrocarpus – will be planted on 75ha near the lake in the capital’s Prek Pnov district.

The project to establish a national park was initiated by Prime Minister Hun Sen with the support of the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

“Under the guidance of Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has prepared a site of 75ha in size on Boeung Tamok Lake to establish a national park in order to create a green space for Phnom Penh residents and all Cambodian people alike. It will be a site where we can take pleasure in the beauty of nature,” he said.

Although he could not clearly confirm when the saplings would be planted, he said if there had been no further complications to the work due to Covid-19 the municipal administration would have finished the project within the next three years.

“In fact, if Covid-19 wasn’t spreading then within three years it would be finished. For now, the national budget is limited and funds are being diverted to prevent the spread of the disease. So, we have suspended these activities for now but at the appropriate time we will continue with this project,” Sreng said.

Cambodian Institute for Democracy president Pa Chanroeun hailed the project as a positive for the capital, but he said that as a citizen and a social worker he requested that the authorities manage the park development project and the Boeung Tamok Lake area with transparency and accountability.

“I asked that tree saplings be planted around the Boeung Tamok Lake and in other areas on roads around Phnom Penh because presently Phnom Penh lacks public parks for citizens to enjoy and to exercise in and this is a necessity in our society,” he said.

He added that planting trees along the roads and around homes in Phnom Penh is a good way to increase the beauty of the city.

Chanroeun said Phnom Penh was once recognised as a green city with wonderful public parks, especially during the period that the late Singaporean founding father Lee Kuan Yew visited in 1960.

Chanroeun continued that converting the present Phnom Penh into a green city would be a very effective means of contributing to the promotion of good mental health and the wellbeing of citizens.