Beauty Queens to Promote Conservation, Waste Management

The Environment Ministry on Sunday held a press conference to showcase its newest tactic for promoting environmental awareness—beauty queens.

“One of the things we enjoy as beauty queens is we are given the opportunity to state our opinions,” said Camille Hirro, who represented the Philippines in the 2016 Miss Global pageant.

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Miss Global beauty pageant winners, in Cambodia to promote environmental awareness, pose with Environment Ministry undersecretary of state Eang Sophalleth in Phnom Penh on Sunday. (Emil Kastrup/The Cambodia Daily)

It is not too late to “save your country from destroying everything,” she added.

The five beauty queens, including the winner of last year’s Miss Global pageant, Angela Bonilla of Ecuador, arrived in Cambodia on Saturday and will stay until March 8.

During their time here, the five will hold a concert, “share with the public and the youth about waste disposal and proper waste management,” and conduct fieldwork in villages, said Eang Sophalleth, undersecretary of state at the ministry, while opening the conference.

The focus of their time would be to act as models for good waste management, especially for Cambodia’s youth, said Mr. Sophalleth and the beauty queens.

“We are here to show the young generation how to take care of their country,” said Nikola Bechynova of the Czech Republic.

“It’s not enough to educate them—we need to give them an example,” said Ms. Bonilla, the reigning Miss Global.

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Environment Ministry undersecretary of state Eang Sophalleth, flanked by Miss Global winners, speaks at a news conference at the ministry in Phnom Penh on Sunday. (Emil Kastrup/The Cambodia Daily)

“We need to teach them how to collect garbage and preserve nature.”

More stars were ready to join in the campaign, added Mr. Sophalleth, noting how actress Angelina Jolie had met with Environment Minister Say Sam Al in a visit to the country last week.

“Later on, we’ll have maybe famous actors, actresses. We want the whole world to see who we are, what we are and what we are doing,” he said.

Mr. Sophalleth conceded, however, that visits from celebrities were not a solution in themselves.

And though the group wanted to campaign against illegal logging, the beauty queens would not have time to visit the rural spots where logging was occurring, he said.

He had instead decided that their fieldwork would happen in the tourist hubs of Sihanoukville and Siem Reap City.

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Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified 2016 Miss Global pageant contestant Camille Hirro.

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