Young Pedal 1,000km to Protect the Environment

Twenty-five young people have taken up a 1,000km bike challenge to celebrate World Environment Day on June 5. Photo: Cambodian Youth Network

PHNOM PENH – Twenty-five young people have taken up a 1,000km bike challenge to celebrate World Environment Day on June 5. 

Four days into the project and after covering more than 300km, they will begin the second phase on May 10.

The Cambodian Youth Network (CYN) and 13 other civil society organizations, under the theme “The well-being of the planet is our shared responsibility,” are celebrating World Environment Day over 30 days. 

CYN president Heng Kimhong said the group cycled on a trail for almost 100km in the first phase. 

He anticipates that the second phase over 400km through forest and dusty roads to Phnom Penh will be more challenging. 

“We are heading from the northeastern part, which is rich in biodiversity, to learn about the hydropower dams in the Sesan River and the dam-affected community,” Kimhong said. 

“We bike along the Mekong River to learn about its potential before we go to the Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary and Sambour Wildlife Sanctuary.”

The group then proceeds to the Tonle Sap River in Kampong Thom, Kampong Cham and Kandal and to Phnom Penh, which he said is a city with pollution. 

“This is a journey passing through many biodiverse areas, which will equip us with more environment-related knowledge,” he said.

Kimhong said the cyclists took turns as some needed rest, so a total of 30 were taking part. All had high commitment and loved the environment.

“It’s the message from us to the people to protect the environment and the authorities to strengthen the protection and legal measures to push forward the law enforcement on any environmental crime, such as deforestation and mine businesses,” he said.

Cambodia, with 46% forest cover, is Southeast Asia's third-largest lowland dry evergreen forest, home to 2,300 plant species, 14 endangered animals, and one of seven remaining elephant corridors.

USAID says deforestation and wildlife crimes continue to threaten Cambodia’s forests and biodiversity. It is commonly known that Cambodia is a significant source and transit nation for the illicit wildlife trade, and more efforts are needed in the fight against wildlife trafficking. 

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