World Environment Day was marked a day early in Phnom Penh on Friday with dozens of aspiring Cambodian scientists showcasing their research at the Royal University’s Science Fair 2004.
Twenty research projects emphasizing “green” technology were on show, including projects that developed organic soap, mosquito coils and pesticide, and another that used solar power from a mirror to fuel a kettle.
Kim Chamnan, a second year student at the university’s Department of Environmental Sciences explained how, with some local ingredients, his group had developed their own organic Cambodian mouthwash.
Lay Chanthy, Department of Environmental Sciences professor, said more than 100 science students, with practical as well as theoretical knowledge, had graduated since his department opened in 2000.
“Before, if you asked a student about his knowledge on science, he could tell you this and that easily. But, if you asked him to turn the theory into an understandably obvious action, he would find it hard to show you,” Lay Chanthy said.
Cheas Sokta, a 19-year-old literature student, said she was impressed with the home-grown products.
“Because it’s very organic and cheap, I will use this if I can find it in the market,” she said.
According to an information pamphlet, making organic mouthwash in Cambodia is easy, and all that was needed were pieces of palm tree thorns and the local plant called the popel, scientifically know as hopea odorata. Just boil the ingredients and add some sugar and salt.