E-waste Solution Scoops Award at Regional Data Competition

Vietnam's Green Letter team has won first place in the Cambodia-hosted ASEAN Data Science Explorers regional finals for its innovative solution to e-waste.
Minister of Post and Telecommunications, Chea Vandeth, handing first prize to Vietnam’s Green Letter team. Kiripost/Siv Channa
Minister of Post and Telecommunications, Chea Vandeth, handing first prize to Vietnam’s Green Letter team. Kiripost/Siv Channa

A team from Vietnam won first place in the ASEAN Data Science Explorers Regional Finals (ASEANDSE 2022) on Thursday, after pitching their e-waste management solution to the judges.

While Vietnam’s Green Letter team took first prize, teams from Brunei and Malaysia scooped the second and third spot respectively.

Ma Thi Ngoc Bich, one of two MIT university students from Ho Chi Minh, who won the final prize, told Kiripost,

“I’m a bit overwhelmed. I didn’t expect that we would be the champions. We expected to be in the top two. Maybe our presentation fits the requirements and criterias of the judges, so we got the chance to be the champion.”

When taking to the stage, Bich started by asking the audience when was their last time throwing away their gadgets. She said that based on her team’s findings, ASEAN domestic e-waste is surging. E-waste generation increases by 4.5 percent annually and has become the third largest e-waste generation on the Asian continent. Her Green Letter team proposed an E-Gold mobile application, which circular processes start with collecting and tracking e-waste handling, incentivizing for collection, an ecommerce for used products, and support e-waste recycling.

Team Brunei. Kiripost/Siv Channa
Team Brunei. Kiripost/Siv Channa

Team Malaysia. Kiripost/Siv Channa
Team Malaysia. Kiripost/Siv Channa

Bich’s teammate, Ngo Quoc Anh Thu, said their solution was inspired by a case study of Japan's recycling system, which encourages people to recycle through incentives.

This year’s regional competition involves young people, under the age of 30, from the 10 ASEAN nations to help shape the future by harnessing the power of data to highlight key issues. The teams use data analytics presenting problem statements and proposed solutions.

Dr. Yang Mee Eng, ASEAN Foundation director, told the audience attending at the Cambodia Academy of Digital Technology (CADT) that, “ASEANDSE 2022 marks a combination of a year-long journey to empower and equip youth across ASEAN with the essentials of digital skills.” She added, “You’re all the winners in our eyes.”

Verena Siow, President of SAP Southeast Asia, the competition organizers with ASEAN Foundation, said youth are the future. Innovation is the growth engine for Asean. “The journey throughout the competition is as important as the outcome,” she said in her closing remarks.

Students from CADT, the finalist team from Cambodia, came on stage to convince judges that their Smart Energy includes Internet of Things-powered solar tracker technology and smart meters for electricity consumption.

Team Cambodia (Smart Energy). Kiripost/Siv Channa
Team Cambodia (Smart Energy). Kiripost/Siv Channa

ASEAN DSE supports the ASEAN Work Plan on Youth and Education 2021-2025. Throughout the competition, from February to October, it helps youths across the 10 ASEAN Member States with data analytics skills. Student teams developed data analytics storyboards and proposals using SAP Analytics Cloud by SAP, which is one of the competition organizers.

In Cambodia, similar to Vietnam's Green Letter team, startup Circular Digital Lab is collecting old laptops and phones to donate to rural students in a bid to increase opportunities during the country’s digital transformation. The Cambodian startup has been crowned the winner of US-ASEAN Innovation Circle Grassroots Competition 2021, under the challenge theme Digital Economy: How to ensure inclusive access to technology for all.