PHNOM PENH (Khmer Times) – Four thousand students, civil servants, politicians and EU representatives joined the “Bicycle Tour for Climate” on Sunday to raise awareness about climate change and the issues associated with it.
As a part of the slate of EU Week events, the bicycle tour was held to commemorate Europe Day, which is celebrated on May 9th each year in remembrance of the speech that launched the formation of the EU.
EU Ambassador Jean-Francois Cautain said the event was also an effort to promote bicycle riding as an alternative to gas-reliant modes of transportation.
The event was attended by Phnom Penh Governor Par Socheatvong and Education Minister Hang Chuon Narong, as well as representatives of foreign embassies to Cambodia.
Mr. Cautain said he hoped the event would strengthen cooperation between Cambodia and the EU and make people more aware of climate change as a legitimate, global issue.
Traffic jams are becoming commonplace in Phnom Penh due to the exponential rise in the number of vehicles and motorbikes used by the population in recent years. The organizers of the bicycle tour hoped it would encourage people to find other forms of transportation.
“It [bicycle riding] affects climate change less than other forms of transport do,” Mr. Cautain said.
The bicycle tour started at Olympic Stadium and moved past the embassies of every EU member state, covering 17 kilometers in total.
Mr. Narong said, “The event is not only to raise awareness about the EU, but also to promote affection for sports and environment.”
Antony Wright, an American teacher joining some of the students from his school, said, “I think that the show of turning away from a dependence on petroleum products is a good thing.”
A father of two children, Lim Sros, said he was happy to join the event and was glad to see so many young people coming together for a good cause.
He hoped the turnout would prove that Cambodians are interested in participating in social activities for the common good.
Mr. Sros said that he encourages people, particularly the younger generation, to be more active in next year’s events.