The Ministry of Environment, in collaboration with the Battambang Provincial Administration, is to celebrate National and World Environment Day on May 5 to raise public awareness of environmental issues and preserve the environment for sustainable use of natural resources.
This year’s event is held with the theme “Care for the Planet for Our Health” to raise the environmental awareness of the public and students, with a focus on environmental protection, biodiversity conservation and sustainable living.
The main focus of the event is on the movement of all strata of forces to join environmental sanitation on May 5 at 7-9am at Neak Banh Teuk Park in Battambang town.
Ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra told The Post that the event is held on May 5 instead of the official date of June 5 because the latter has been set for the commune council elections. He said the ministry elected to hold the event ahead of time so there was no conflict with political party members and supporters conducting their election campaigns.
He noted that Battambang was chosen to host the event this time around. Other provinces, including Ratanakkiri and Kampot, had previously been selected to spread the importance of the environment and protecting the planet to the public.
“We expect that the celebrations in Battambang will reach attract about 300 people from the provincial administration and departments. Students will also conduct activities which demonstrate their consideration for the environment and how important biodiversity is as part of it,” he said.
He added that the challenges the ministry faced in environmental protection were climate change, solid waste management, and natural resource protection and conservation. The ministry had done a lot of work, and the government had laid out policies on urban solid waste management and local economic development through providing new jobs and ideas for people through ecotourism.
“The celebration of this day, with the theme “Care for the Planet for Our Health,” is to show the public that human health is strongly connected to the environment and remind them that the health of the planet is an important part of human health. If the planet is polluted, it affects humans,” he said.
Yin Mengly, Battambang provincial coordinator for rights group ADHOC, said the event is both a message to commemorate the anniversary of Environment Day, and also a warning to people – as well as government officials – to care for the environment. However, what really matters is the practical and regular implementation of sustainable policies.
“We should not just talk about environmental issues on this day; we need to discuss them regularly. We should not meet and promote this day once a year and consider we have done enough for environmental issues. It is important to implement practical environmental protection measures on a regular basis,” he said.
Mengly added that garbage in some places is collected daily, but in others trash is only picked up once a week – or even every 10 days. This is a problem. For example, waste collection at popular tourist places and densely populated areas is good nearly every day, but collection is sluggish in some outlying districts. In many parts of the country, landfill sites have not yet been prepared, he added.