Budding artist Elizabeth Elaine Au Chun-ning is the winner of a prestigious competition with a painting which highlights the need to improve water quality in Hong Kong. Elizabeth, 13, beat more than 10,000 participants to clinch the grand prize in the 10th International Youth Poetry and Art Contest organised by the United Nations Environment Programme. This is the second major award Elizabeth has won in the past 10 months - she won the grand title at an international poster contest for young people backed by the same organisation in July. The latest one required participants from 60 countries to express their thoughts on water through poetry or drawings. The Secondary Two student from Tak Nga Secondary School snatched the top honour with a Chinese water-ink painting, Spring Time, in which a group of children happily play piggyback by a waterfall. 'I want to tell people that we have fewer and fewer opportunities to play with natural water as it is heavily polluted,' Elizabeth said. 'You don't see too many clear rivers or streams in Hong Kong nowadays. 'Piggyback riding symbolises teamwork. I want to say we should all work together to improve the water quality.' Elizabeth included birds and flowers to depict springtime in her painting. Henry Lau Hoo-cheong, Elizabeth's drawing instructor at Simply Art Creative Painting Studio, praised her skills and the effort she has put into her work. 'Chinese water-ink painting is not easy. It is actually more difficult than painting with western watercolours,' he said. 'Once you put your paint brush on the Xuanzi paper [a special kind of paper used for Chinese paintings], you have to draw with confidence as the ink will be absorbed by the paper if you hesitate.' Elizabeth and her family have been invited to attend the award ceremony in San Francisco on June 5 - the United Nations World Environment Day. Elizabeth will deliver a speech at the ceremony and take part in an autograph session for the book of all the winning entries this year. She will also visit Muir Woods, home of the giant redwoods in California. After doing research for the two drawing competitions, Elizabeth is more aware of the environmental problems facing Hong Kong. 'We have severe water pollution. We should stop throwing rubbish into the sea as our beautiful harbour and marine life are suffering,' she said. Mr Lau said Elizabeth is also in the running in a separate drawing competition co-organised by the UN. Her painting is among the 100 finalists chosen from Asia. The final result will be announced in San Francisco on June 5 as part of the UN World Environment Day activities.