Dubai students win prestigious environmental public speaking contest



Three Dubai campus students have been awarded the first prize in the ‘EEG Inter College Environmental Public Speaking Competition’ held earlier this week. Held by Emirates Environmental Group (EEG), the annual competition provides students a platform to showcase their public speaking skills, to express their opinion on contemporary environmental and sustainability issues, and to propose innovative solutions for making a positive change.

Heriot-Watt University Dubai emerged as the winner in the category of ‘Resource Efficiency and Climate Change - Actions Required’, and was also declared as the overall winner of the competition this year, beating more than 40 teams from 16 universities across the MENA region. It is the first time in the 20-year history of the competition that the trophy has been awarded to Heriot-Watt University, due to the determination of the following students:

  • Alka Sathyan, BEng (Hons) Electrical and Electronic Engineering, 4th Year  
  • Priscilla Jaichandran, BEng (Hons) Electrical and Electronic Engineering, 4th Year  
  • Tanishi Mathur, BEng (Hons) Electrical and Electronic Engineering, 4th Year

Supervised by Associate Professor Dr Senthil A Muthukumaraswamy of the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, the team delivered a live presentation on stage, proposing innovative solutions such as Hydroponics, Aquaponics and Swarm Robots to help reduce the negative impact of the agricultural sector on the environment and to be more resource efficient. The students also highlighted the serious impact of agriculture on the environment, and the future implications of a rapidly growing population.

For the uninitiated, Hydroponics is the cultivation of plants without the usage of soil, and can positively impact  land and water conservation. Aquaponics is the combination of fish and plant production using aquafarming and hydroponics, which helps in the conservation of water and reduction of chemical use. Swarm robots are robots that work together in large numbers and can be programmed for tasks such as soil and plant health monitoring, weeding, drilling, and harvesting.

Commenting on the triumph, Dr Muthukumaraswamy said, “I am incredibly proud of our students and their hard work in winning this competition. Creating a sustainable future is impossible without guiding our youth towards sustainability today. As Heriot-Watt is committed to educating students, about pressing environmental concerns, participating in such competitions encourages our students to become the sustainability champions of tomorrow.”

EEG is a professional working group devoted to protecting the environment through the means of education, action programmes and community involvement. As a UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) accredited organisation, EEG continuously strives towards implementing UN Sustainable Development Goal number 4 by educating and empowering the younger generation to carry the timeless legacy into the future, instilling values of environmentalism and arming students with confidence, critical thinking skills and sound knowledge on the existing sustainability issues.