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Five youth leaders awarded Youth Environmental Awards

By Hoe Yeen Nie, Channel NewsAsia
12 June 2007 1941 hrs

SINGAPORE: More young people are taking part in green activities, but it will take time before environmentalism becomes widespread.

This is according to youth environmental leaders presented with the Youth Environmental Awards on Tuesday by HSBC bank and the National Youth Achievement Award Council.

The whale shark was certainly no small fry for six young environmentalists from Singapore, who spent three weeks last June at Australia's Ningaloo Reef helping scientists with their research.

"I was experiencing real life scientific research coupled with conservation work. Besides that it was an example of how eco-tourism could work very well," said Choo Peiling, a participant, HSBC/NYAA Earthwatch Project 06.

"It doesn't have to be experienced overseas. For instance there's seagrass monitoring at Chek Jawa, and that is very hands-on."

Other youth environmentalists agree.

They say there are now more green activities in Singapore that cater to all interests whether it is cleaning up riverways, or simply enjoying what Mother Nature has to offer.

The response has been encouraging.

Ramanathan Thurairajoo, HSBC/NYAA Youth Environmental Award winner, said: "During my days in Ngee Ann with the environmental youth society, we had to conduct the outreach... bringing in membership, and bringing youth to be involved in environmental activities. But these days, youth themselves volunteer."

But some youth environmentalists feel Singapore has some way to go with its green push, especially with older Singaporeans.

So it is important to relate broad ideas such as global warming to everyday actions, like using environmentally-friendly lightbulbs.

For their efforts, two youth leaders won a trip to Australia's Queensland state to study climate change in rainforests.

The HSBC/NYAA Study Trip will take place between 13 and 27 June.

"Rainforests [are] really my thing, so I'm really looking forward to it. And when we come back, we're going to do projects with NParks and we're going to deal with reptiles, like monitor lizards, which are actually my favourite animal. They're more sensitive to climate change, so we can see how the changes in temperature affect them," said Chan Boon Wah, HSBC/NYAA Youth Environmental Award winner.

The two youth environmentalists and three others were presented with the Youth Environmental Award, by HCBS bank and the NYAA.

The other awardees were: Goh Hong Yi, 17, from National Junior College (winner); Chen Yann-Qi, 15, from Anderson Junior Secondary School (merit award); and Tang Yiu Sum, 16, from Raffles Girls' Secondary School (merit). - CNA/yy

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