A pageant aimed at inspiring the youth to safeguard and promote environmental awareness, will be launched in Bloemfontein soon. It will be known as the Miss Environmental Pageant South Africa and the first edition takes place this year. The contest is for both male and female.It is the brain child of Thando Lepele, founder of TML Models Academy. Lepele said contestants from six to 35 years can take part in this contest aiming to serve as advocacy for the youth in environmental protection.“Important is to educate the public about environmental protection, and to create awareness and management in this regard. The youth is still not environmentally conscious, and we are hoping to address that through the pageant,” said Lepele.Shortlisted finalists, 27 in total, will compete in different categories: Little Miss Environmental SA (6 to 10 years), Miss Pre-Teen Environmental SA (11 to 13), Miss Teen Environmental SA (14 to 17) and Miss and Mr Environmental SA (18 to 35).Lepele said a workshop was conducted to arm the finalists with knowledge to protect the environment and to promote issues in this regard.This was conducted by Engedi Minerals and Energy and the Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs. Lepele said the pageant intends to enhance the youth’s awareness, knowledge and skills to help make informed decisions that affect environmental quality, and profit from doing so.“The finalists were informed about the importance of taking care of the environment. Finalist are required to take part in the environmental awareness campaigns, in so doing, they will learn the responsibility to respect, protect and preserve the natural world from destruction by humans,” said Lepele.Programmes include recycling, the reuse of non-biodegradable materials, the use of an alternative energy source like solar power, and the cultivating of small-scale vegetables at home.