Dubai: Students will soon start developing innovative environmental solutions under the first Environmental Excellence School Award (EESA) that was announced on Sunday for private and state schools in the UAE.
Winners of the contest, organised by Sharjah-based environmental and waste management company Bee’ah, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, will receive Dh5,000 to Dh25,000 in cash prizes, depending on the category. Details of the award were announced during a press conference in Dubai on Sunday.
The award is a relaunch and expansion of the Sharjah Environment Awareness Award, held by Bee’ah School of Environment (BSOE) since 2010 for Sharjah-based schools.
The latest 2017-18 edition has been relaunched as EESA and expanded to all emirates, except Abu Dhabi, which could see participation in the next 2018-19 cycle, said Hind Al Huwaidi, education manager of the award.
She added that submissions for the awards have to be projects or inventions that can be applied in real life and proven to bring environmental benefits. Once the projects have been shortlisted, after the May 8, 2018, submission deadline for final projects, Bee’ah representatives and environmental experts will visit participating schools to judge the projects on-site over a four-week period.
This cycle, the theme of the contest is Preservation of Natural Resources.
During last year’s theme of “climate change caused by air pollution”, Al Huwaidi said, the notable projects included a process to turn car exhaust gases — carrying carbon — into ink for pens. The project was created by students of Delhi Private School, Sharjah.
“We are expecting outstanding research and projects by the students. These are real, implementable solutions that can be scaled up inside or outside the school,” she added.
Last cycle, 270 schools participated and this edition will see the number rise significantly, Al Huwaidi said. Students from KG to Grade 12 will compete in five different categories, such as the best environment science experiment for early years, best environmental film for middle years, and the best environmental invention for senior students.
Fahad Shehail, chief development officer at Bee’ah, said: “This year, the theme of the competition will revolve around one of the most important environmental issues in the UAE — the preservation of natural resources … Through this competition, we aim to unleash the creative power of students and inspire them to be the entrepreneurs that will build a better, cleaner and greener world.”
Bahiya Shihab, specialist in environmental activities at the ministry, said: “Today, climate change is among the greatest challenges that we face. We are rising to this challenge and creating opportunities that boost sustainable development — economically, socially and geographically. While building on the efforts that we have made in previous years, the ultimate aim is to preserve the environment and its resources to enable future generations to thrive.”
The launch of EESA coincides with the new BSOE website, complete with environmental learning tools and registration for all environmental competitions.