The Hong Kong Environmental Essay Competition and Air Pollution Conference were successfully held at Renaissance College on 26 October 2019.
This competition was organized for the first time under the project “Let Our Children Breathe” which focuses on air pollution and the health of children. A total of 48 essays was submitted by the students aged 12 to 18 from different international schools and local schools of Hong Kong. The essay competition focused on Air Pollution, Sustainability and Health. All of the essays written depicted a comprehensive knowledge of the youngsters on the issues related to the environment. The essays ranged from fictional stories, assembled facts and research. The essays were judged on criteria like research, creativity and communication.
The essay competition also led to the Hong Kong Air Pollution Conference held at the same day. This event was supported by US Consulate General in Hong Kong & Macau. The main objective of this conference was to allow students from different schools to share their views and listen to experts working in the fields of air pollution. A total of 60 students and their parents signed up for the conference.
The guest speakers were James Ockenden who is a professional writer in environmental issues in Hong Kong, Prof Amos Tai-Air Science (CUHK) and Rachel Chan, a Master degree student from public health (HKU). All three of them shared their research ranging from sustainability of space travel, air pollution and their impact on plants and cellular impact of air pollution. The students raised a lot of questions like “What would their contributions be to clean Hong Kong air?”, “How could transport be improved in Hong Kong?”, “Has community engagement been successful?”. The questions raised indicated their concern over air pollution in Hong Kong.
At the end of the conference, the Hong Kong Environmental Essay Competition winners were declared. The winner in the senior category (14+) was Yoojin Jung from King George V School and the winner of the junior category (below 14 years) was Adrian Wu also from King George V School. Yoojin’s essay was on “Air pollution and dementia; how it hinders sustainability in Hong Kong” and Adrian’s essay was called “Stop air pollution trespassing on public health – Time to show political passion and leadership to stop air pollution at the source”.
The impact of this conference was an excellent cross-collaboration between children from different local and international schools on a common issue of air pollution faced by everyone. The parents of the students also participated in the conference which showed the interest of the parents’ groups on air pollution. We are looking forward to seeing more student committees like Project Matter formed in schools that focus on clean air. This would result in more public awareness among parent groups and students.
The competition was organized by CAN in association with Project Matter which is a student think tank from Renaissance College, Ma On Shan.