Ministry of Environment secretary of state Neth Pheaktra said that a recent youth debate forum on the environment was an excellent mechanism to disseminate knowledge among young people. He made the remarks during the August 26 announcement of the winners in the 42nd debate forum in Preah Sihanouk province.

“These debates are a wonderful way to share natural resource information and love for the environment with people. They are just one of the ways we do this,” he said.

Pheaktra thanked the leadership of the General Directorate of Environmental Knowledge and Information and the Department of Environmental Education for their efforts to establish environmental awareness programmes to promote environmental protection activities, natural resource management, biodiversity conservation and sustainable living.

Preah Sihanouk provincial deputy governor Long Dimanche saw the forum as encouraging youth to pay closer attention to the environment around them and said it was great to see them working together to foster an appreciation for it.

The forum offered youth the opportunity to study, research, develop arguments in a scientific way. They had to support their positions and defend them against tough questions. They also learnt from various speakers and environmental specialists. In the future, some of them may go on to join the environment ministry.

Students from 16 high schools in Preah Sihanouk and Koh Kong provinces joined the forum. Of the 16, six entered the final stage.

They debated three subjects. The first was “environmental education in pagodas is more effective at developing environmentally friendly behavior than in schools”. “Plastic waste is a major source of marine pollution” was the second, with “creating jobs for local communities contributes to biodiversity conservation” being the third.

Students from Hun Sen Kampong Seila High School won the contest, followed by those of Prey Nob High School in Preah Sihanouk province, and Hun Sen Pak Klang High School.

Students of Hun Sen Smach Deng High School, Hun Sen Veal Renh High School and Sen Mitthapheap High School earned blue ribbon awards.