Straits Times journalist Nirmal Ghosh has won an award for his coverage of environmental issues in the region.
The Indochina bureau chief bagged a merit award in the Singapore Environment Council-City Developments Limited Environmental Journalist of the Year category at the fourth Asian Environmental Journalism Awards organised by the council.
Mr Ghosh, 55, said that one of the greatest challenges in reporting on the environment was to translate complex scientific data for readers.
"The issues addressed are usually not just in black or white, but in various shades of grey," he said at the award ceremony in Orchard Hotel yesterday.
One of the five stories he submitted for the award touched on how low-lying areas such as the Maldives are particularly vulnerable to the effects of rising sea levels due to climate change.
The journalist, who has been with The Straits Times for 21 years, is also deeply involved in wildlife conservation issues.
He was a joint awardee for climate change reporting at the Society of Publishers in Asia awards in 2008, and was cited by the United Nations Environment Programme for excellence in reporting on Montreal Protocol issues and global warming in 2010.
A total of 175 entries from journalists, photojournalists and bloggers were received for this year's awards, an increase of almost 20 per cent from last year.
The 13 winners were recognised in seven categories, from the best environmental blogger to the environmental story of the year to organisational awards for excellence in environmental reporting.
A special award for sustained environmental reporting was given out to former Straits Times journalist Jessica Cheam. She is now the editor of Eco-Business, an online sustainable business publication.
Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor gave out the awards.
In her opening speech, she highlighted the work of Indonesian photojournalist Chaideer Mahyuddin from Agence France-Presse, whose image of forest rangers and local conservation groups cutting down illegally planted oil palm trees clinched the Environmental Photograph of the Year award.
Noting that the public is now "chokingly aware" of the fact that South-east Asia is experiencing one of its worst haze episodes because of raging forest fires in Indonesia, she said: "Passionate and dedicated journalists form an essential bridge between emerging environmental concerns and members of the community at large. Through reports on environmentally harmful practices, they serve as the watchdogs of our environment."