A painting expressing the dream of living on a green leaf won first prize at a nationwide competition for secondary school students.

The Climate Change and You competition aimed to raise awareness about climate change and encourage Vietnamese students to take initiative to tackle the problem. Entries in two categories, writing and drawing, were required to demonstrate innovative ways to mitigate the effects of climate change.

First prize in the drawing category went to Tran Thi Tinh from the northern province of Son La, while Nguyen Anh Phong from Da Nang city took home the top writing award.

"The green leaf symbolises a green, clean and beautiful life," Tinh said. "If we could live on green leaves, we wouldn't have to worry about pollution and climate change."

Phong, who has spent a lot of time studying the environment, is passionate about finding ways to stop pollution.

"Only one wrong act can have a serious impact on the environment," he said. "We should save everything we can, including paper, electricity and water."

Since it opened in November, the competition received more than 88,000 entries, of which nearly 60,000 were drawings.

Le Trong Hung, vice director of the Department of Science, Technology and Environment, said he believed that through this competition, environmentalist messages would get across to lower secondary students nationwide as well as their friends and families.

"Bringing climate change education into schools is an important initiative," he said. "It helps students understand their responsibility and role in protecting the environment and tackling climate change."

Chris Brown, director of the British Council, said he felt happy when the competition received a favourable response from many students.

"The competition creates love for the earth and awareness about the environment among students," he said.

The competition is part of the "Cascading and Embedding Climate Change Education into Wider Secondary Schools across Vietnam" project implemented by the British Council Vietnam, Vietnam's Ministry of Education and Training and Live&Learn Environmental Education Centre, with the funding support of the British Embassy in Hanoi.

The project will be implemented nationwide with the focus on the provinces of Nam Dinh, Thanh Hoa and Nghe An.-VNA