SINGAPORE - Fallen twigs and tree branches - most people would just walk past them, but Mr Kevin Lee's keen desire to study these and other wood materials has landed him a free trip to Germany.
The Temasek Polytechnic student has found a way to use wood as a substitute for sand and gravel in cement - potentially reducing reliance on such imports and costs for the construction sector.
"Wood is long and fibrous, and provides a strong reinforcement for building materials. Finding new means to recycle wood also means we can reduce carbon dioxide emission," said Mr Lee.
The project has made the 19-year-old one of four winners of the local leg of the Bayer Young Environmental Envoy Programme. Next month, they will spend a week in Cologne, where they will meet United Nations Environment Programme experts and scientists from pharmaceutical giant Bayer.
The other winners are Mr Adrian Kho, 20, also from Temasek Polytechnic, Mr Daniel Tan, 23, from Nanyang Polytechnic and Mr Gabriel Toh, 18, from ITE College West.
They were picked from a pool of 11 shortlisted participants who had worked on six-month-long projects to raise awareness of environmental issues or find new ways to reduce waste.
One of the four winners will go on to represent Singapore, competing against youth delegates from 19 other countries in the running to become this year's Bayer Young Environmental Envoy.
The competition is part of a global environmental education programme started by Bayer 13 years ago to promote environmental awareness and nurture young leaders to champion the cause.