A competition hosted by Youths for Sustainable Development Goals (YSDG) and supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has seen four Shrewsbury students reach the finals and ultimately place in the top 3. 49 Teams across the ASEAN region took part to solve issues regarding waste management and medical waste, energy conservation and accessibility and air quality.
Known in the challenge simply as 'The Clovers' - Year 11s Ana, Laura, Sophia and Julieta designed a mobile application called 'Eco Air' that quantifies an individual's or company's carbon footprint by tracking what types of transport they use over a given timeframe. The app has the capacity to make alternate suggestions, compare data with friends and offer tips on how to get from A to B.
Team member Julieta says that AQI is an issue that is close to The Clovers' Hearts as Bangkok regularly has an index that is above healthy levels.
"There are 9.7 million automobiles, and motorbikes in Bangkok and their output along with burning and industry can cause Bangkok to be an unhealthy place to live. Our app is designed to encourage all users to consider alternatives to ensure we all live and breathe clean air," She stressed.
The Clovers' intention is to get students from the hundreds of schools in the city to be the first to download Eco Air. After that, the team plans on expanding to companies and eventually to all residents of Bangkok.
The judges, which included a university professor, individuals from private, government and non-government enterprises were suitably impressed with the idea and the initial low-cost structure of Eco Air. Of course, there were several questions levelled at The Clovers regarding the app and their growth plans. Dr Yaowateera Achawangkul, from the Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency, wanted to know if the students had a national focus or just Bangkok.
Year 11 Laura responded, saying that the focus was initially narrowed towards Bangkok, given its population mass, but that they had also identified areas of concern outside the capital.
"We are aware that the burning of crops to speed up regeneration and yield sizes is a big problem - especially in the North of the country. However, we do not want to overextend at the start of the programme, and by keeping it local we can make sure our application is functional," She insisted.
Upon completion of their presentation, and after consultation amongst the judges, The Clovers' pitch was deemed worthy enough for a top 3 finish. Now, an opportunity to be involved in a mentoring session organised by YSDG will be held next month.
Another team member, Sophia said all the team members were rapt with the top 3 placing as they initially entered to test out an idea, not with any thought of winning or even making it to the final round.
"Initially, we thought that our entry was not going to make a splash even though we put in a lot of effort. We are pleased with the outcome and glad the judges enjoyed our presentation and thought the idea had merit," she said enthusiastically.
Shrewsbury continues to have close ties with YSDG, and many more students are taking part in competitions, seminars and charity projects. We look forward to seeing many more young people breaking new ground in the same way as our Year 11 Clovers have.