First-prize for the national Eco Picture Diary Contest has been taken by 12-year-old Nguyen Phan Van Linh who will represent Vietnamese school students in the international contest in Paris in December.

This is the inaugural event for the contest, which is open to Vietnamese students aged 6-15 and received enthusiastic participation with a total of 330 diaries submitted.

Each contestant received an eco picture diary to paint and write on to express ideas to protect the environment, and winner Linh used the diary to design clothes and essential items made from recycled materials.

The contest promotes environmental awareness, creativity and expression for students who added to their diaries every day.

"When I started writing the diary, I just thought about the award," Linh said, "but after several days recycling trash, I realised that recycling is fun and easy and anyone can protect the environment."

Students displayed a range of creative ways to tackle environmental issues including exploring a new type of pollution – light pollution, designing an eco-friendly school from a tree and using coloured clay to illustrate the diaries.

By the end of the competition, students agreed that everybody must join together to protect the environment in order to have a greener world.

"I feel happy to express my feelings and knowledge about light pollution," said Nguyen Hong Anh from Marie Curie School , "this is a new problem but it's imperative for the environment and humanity."

"Light is an important and indispensable part of our lives but if we use artificial light too much, it will damage the Earth, so let's join hands for a planet without light pollution," Anh said.

Many young students just learning to read and write were able to expressed their wishes for a green world with slogans including "sea no rubbish" and "car no smoke".

Students noted that protecting the environment relied on essential, everyday tasks such as turning the tap off after use, turning lights off when leaving the room and recycling disposable items.

"Their action is small but it indicates high awareness of environmental protection and contributes to realising the hope of a greener planet for future generations," said Shinichi Wakita, general director of Panasonic Vietnam , the contest's organiser.

The Eco Picture Diary Contest has been organised by Panasonic in a number of countries since its inception in 2009. /.