Residents of Ban Phousaat in Khounkham District, Khammouane, have planted about 2,000 trees around their village to mark National Tree Planting Day. The planting of the trees, donated by the Theun-Hinboun Power Company or THPC, will beautify the village, produce fruit for local people, and help raise awareness of the importance of trees to the environment.

Phousaat is a new village, established in 2011 as part of THPC's Social and Environmental Program. Five villages have moved to this new site, which offers better housing, roads, electricity and water supply, plus community facilities such as a clinic, school and temple. Overall, 23 villages downstream of the Theun-Hinboun project are moving to relocation sites in flood-safe areas.

As with all newly constructed sites, it takes time for the area to regain a natural look. At Phousaat, Khounkham District officials joined the villagers and THPC staff to plant a combination of fruit and decorative trees that will help "green" Ban Phousaat and also provide jackfruit, mango and santol (mak thong), contributing to income-generation and a healthy diet for villagers.

In January this year THPC inaugurated an extension to its power plant, bringing generating capacity to 500 MW and making the company the third largest power producer in the country. Mr Soulideth Baomanikhoth, the company's Deputy General Manager, said this expansion increased not only THPC's contribution to the Lao economy but also its responsibility to both local people and to protecting the environment.

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