Garbage sorting wins top prize for Shanghai student
Shanghai Daily held a special celebration of World Environment Day, which was on Wednesday this year, with 10 students from local schools sharing their views, practices and imaginative ideas on the theme of environmental protection at the final of an English essay competition.
The first UFI Cup iDEALShanghai “Environmental Practices” competition attracted more than 1,000 students from both Chinese and international schools in Shanghai who submitted essays on one of five given topics. These ranged from small steps like environmental practices in daily life to imaginative concepts such as the ideal green city, environmental films and the design of environmental protection devices, to bold proposals for the city's environment.
A total of 90 made into the second round with short videos of speeches on the topics voted on by the public. The top 10 were at the final on Wednesday to present their thoughts and answer questions from judges.
Tristan Zuo, a fourth grader from Shanghai United International School, who had won most online votes, took the competition's top prize.
With Shanghai’s first garbage-sorting regulation coming into effect on July 1, Zuo picked garbage classification as his topic. He looked at other countries, including the US, Germany, Belgium and Singapore, for their garbage classification ideas and results to encourage more people to join in the recovery, recycling, reuse and reduction of waste.
“I think the idea of this competition is very good. It made a lot of people think about protecting us because there is only one Earth,” he said. “Pollution is one of the biggest problems facing our Earth and if the garbage really polluted our Earth, we won’t have clean water and food.”
He said his family had bought four garbage bins for classification and he found it easy to do.
By winning the top prize in the competition, he also won his family a free trip to Italy sponsored by UFI Filters, an Italian company that is a world leader in filtration technology and thermal management. They will explore environmental programs in Italy, gain an insight into Italian history and culture, make traditional Italian pizza and taste authentic Italian gelato.
“In Italy, I’m looking forward to see how they’re doing garbage classification and also want to eat spaghetti and pizza,” said Zuo.
His mother said the competition had pushed her son to think deeper about environmental protection and to learn detailed information about it.
Zuo's fellow finalists won prizes worth from 500 yuan (US$72) to 5,000 yuan. All the winners’ essays will be published in Shanghai Daily.
The judges said they were impressed by the students’ presentations and their thoughts on a most important issue.
Giorgio Girondi, chairman of UFI Filters, said the company sponsored the competition as the theme coincided with its environmental mission.
“It’s fantastic to see these young guys imagining the new Shanghai. It’s incredible to understand from these young voices the future of the city,” he said, adding that what the students said had also provided the company with a vision of the future that would encourage it to increase its capacity to develop filtration for the world.
“The environment, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the nature that surrounds us must be respected because they are part of us and we all deserve to live well,” he said. “The result of the UFI Cup is the desire of our children to see a better future and we have the task of fulfilling their wishes.”
Feng Yuli, from Fudan University's English department, said it was special to listen to 10 such special speeches from students on such a special day.
“I believe that they have done very serious research on those topics and they approached the very significant issue from different perspectives,” she said. “I think the students learned how to share values through this contest and to approach the issue from an interdisciplinary perspective because this issue of environmental protection is actually a combination of science, humanities and also language skills.”
Meng Tiexia, deputy editor-in-chief of Shanghai Daily, said all the contestants were unexpectedly amazing as they were so young in age but so mature in their thoughts on the serious topic of environmental protection, which would make people feel encouraged that the future world would be a better world.
The list of the winners
1. Tristan Zuo, Shanghai United International School.
2. Jenny Zhang, Shanghai World Foreign Language Primary School.
3. Sophia Tsives, YCIS Pudong.
4. Brian Xu, Huili School Shanghai.
5. Joy Zhang, Huili School Shanghai.
6. Shelley Zhong, Shanghai No. 3 Girls' High School.
7. Bruce He, SUIS HQ.
8. Villanelle Yang, Shanghai No. 3 Girls' High School.
9. Jimmy Yang, SUIS Wanyuan.
10. Enya Wen, SUIS Wanyuan.