Published: Monday 30 September 1996

The ports of Cambodia and Thailand are doing a brisk business. Huge piles of logs sawn from Cambodia's dwindling rainforests make their way daily from the main port of Sihanoukville to the Thai seaport of Klong Yai. Investigations by the British Broadcasting Corporation ( bbc ), which carried a documentary on the illegal felling of forests in Cambodia and the Global Witness, a British non-governmental organisation, have revealed that indiscriminate destruction of rainforests goes on despite a ban on logging.

Even government officials have admitted that the situation was getting out of control. "It is very worrying that our logging ban has not been enforced," said co-minister of the Cambodian interior ministry, Sar Kheng in an interview with bbc . Thai companies based in the Trat province along the Cambodian-Thai border claim that their logging operations were legal. Over the last 25 years, the country's green cover has shrunk from 73 to 23 per cent and environmentalists warn that if deforestation continues at the current rate, no forests would be left by the year 2000.

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