By Hana Namrouqa

AMMAN – Winners of the 2009 Environmental Media Award were honoured on Sunday, with Ikhlas Qadi from the Jordan News Agency, Petra, taking home first prize.

Qadi’s article tackled environmental problems generated by an abandoned sheep market in the Sahab area, categorised by authorities as an environmental hotspot.

Her prize is a trip to the KIA automobile factory in Korea to check on environment-friendly techniques applied at the plant.

Ziad Rebai from Al Rai daily won second prize for an investigation into water quality and diseases caused by polluted water, while third prize went to Mariam Nasr from Al Ghad daily for an article on plastic bags and the threats they pose to the environment and living things.

HRH Princess Rym Ali, who headed the panel of judges, distributed the awards to the winners at a ceremony yesterday.

The panel of judges evaluated the submissions on their originality, structure, quality of research, efficiency and the importance of the topic and environmental context.

The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) launched the Environmental Media Award, the country’s first prize on environmental reporting, in 2008.

Twelve journalists from various media outlets applied for the award, which seeks to highlight environmental issues by encouraging analytical reporting to raise public awareness on the need to preserve the environment, according to the society.

During yesterday’s ceremony, RSCN Director General Yehya Khaled announced that a similar award for “junior journalists” tackling environmental problems will be launched next year, highlighting that the media shares the responsibility of raising awareness on the country’s environmental problems, along with the authorities.

“Environmental challenges have increased recently, not only in our country but all over the world… they don’t impact a limited area but affect the global environment,” he noted.