Development on one of the last large lakes in Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh is impacting communities that rely on it for their livelihoods and causing significant flooding in the city as the result of runoff during heavy rains, an environmental watchdog said Thursday, calling for an end to the practice.
In a video posted to Facebook, Mother Nature said that despite a 2016 decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen recognizing the 3,240-hectare (8,000-acre) Boeung Tamok Lake as public land, the government in June authorized the Ministry of National Defense to fill in around 300 hectares (740 acres) of it to build a military base. The allocation was only made public earlier this month.
Last month’s granting of permission to reclaim land from the lake marks the eighth time the government has done so, after earlier allowing the filling in of 535 hectares (1,320 acres) for official use and private development, Mother Nature noted.
Development has proceeded despite a law which says public land—including lakes—cannot be sold or leased unless they have lost their “public interest value.”
RFA’s Khmer Service. Translated by Samean Yun. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.