A competition will enhance teenagers' technical skills and creativity while promoting environmental protection among the local community. A solar cart race organised by Friends of the Earth (FoE) will put the spotlight on a viable alternative to fuel-powered vehicles. The race also aims to promote the benefits of renewable energy sources and raise awareness of the city's deteriorating air quality. Now in its fifth year, the race - which has attracted 27 teams - will be held at Victoria Park on Sunday. The teams comprise corporate representatives and secondary school and university students. Each team is allowed to use two solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to design their vehicles. The participants will compete for awards for speed, design and team spirit. A PV panel is commonly used to produce solar power. It is made of semiconductors to capture sunlight which it then converts into electricity. Energy that the Earth receives from the sun in 20 days is equivalent to the entire global reserves of coal, oil and natural gas, FoE's Vivien Cheng says. Due to the rapid development of the Pearl River Delta region, the air pollution in Hong Kong is getting worse. Last year, the Air Pollution Index (API) reached new highs. For three months of 2004, the city's API was 'very high'. Ms Cheng says people depend too much on fossil fuels, which increases air pollution. Many governments around the world are aware of the problem, she says, adding that they are trying out alternative energy sources which cause little or no adverse effects on the environment. CCC Rotary Secondary School in Lok Fu, one of the participants in Sunday's race, won the speed award in the student category last year. This year, its students put more effort into the design of their cart. They used old computer discs and small plants to decorate the vehicle, called 'Technology and Green Peace'. 'We want to highlight the message that technology can co-exist with nature,' says Form Five student Mok Ka-kin, 19. 'Modern development threatens the natural environment, but technology can also be used to protect nature. It depends on how we use it.' Form Seven student Tsang Mean-fung, 19, says the competition gives young people a chance to enhance their technical skills and creativity, and also promote environmental protection among locals. He appealed to the government to implement concrete policies to tackle air pollution. So far, he says, there has been much talk but little action. The solar cart race will be held from 10.30am-4pm on Sunday at Victoria Park. Free admission. For more details, visit www.foe.org.hk or call 2528 5588.