This year's Environmental Protection Festival kicked off with the theme of 'Sustainable Development', in an effort to emphasise that environmental protection is as important as economic and social development. Organised by the Environmental Campaign Committee, the festival runs until January 1. At the launch ceremony, Executive Council convenor Leung Chun-ying, one of the officiating guests, called for greater support for environmental protection. 'Not only should the Government make a big effort to improve the the situation, but every member of society should have self-discipline and set examples for others,' he said. 'If we refuse to take a plastic bag when buying a newspaper, we can save a few thousand plastic bags a day. If we turn off the car engine while waiting, we will create far less exhaust fumes a day.' Mr Leung said if people did not make an effort to improve the environment, the cross-harbour swimming competition - which has not been held for years because of harbour pollu tion - would never be held again and future generations would not enjoy the beautiful countryside. He said although most people considered economic development more important than the environment, environmentalism was important factor contributing to the SAR's competitiveness in business and tourism. 'No one would want to visit a polluted city, and no one would come here looking for business opportunities if the living environment is poor,' he said. An Inter-schools Environmental Challenge was held at the ceremony to promote environmental protection. Games booths were set up to test participants' knowledge of top ics such as recycling and waste reduction. Graduation certificates were also presented to about 1,000 young environmental protection ambassadors, including Scouts, Girl Guides and members of Junior Police Call, Green Lions and Green Leos, who had successfully completed environmental training courses. The South China Morning Post was presented with the Supportive Environmental Newspaper Special Award. A clean-up of Victoria Harbour will be held on Sunday and an environmental workshop for managers will be held on Tuesday. The 'Swim into a Greener Era' event will be held at Middle Bay on New Year's Day.