Water Journal : Water Journal November 2012-1
awa news water NOVEMBER 2012 31 Students Set to Solve Water Issues How today’s young scientists are solving tomorrow’s water problems This year’s Stockholm World Water Week focused around water and food security. With one billion people without access to clean water, and a population set to increase to nine billion by 2050, the message for the future was clear. How will the sector ensure that clean water and quality food is provided to another two billion people? As Peter Forssman, Chair of the Stockholm Water Institute (SIWI), said: “We need to be more innovative, creative and intelligent than ever before.” However, do we have the skills to overcome these challenges now and into the future? This is the aim of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize. It is a competition that brings together the world’s brightest students to encourage and continue their interest in water, science and the environment. It is hoped that these students will continue to develop their skills in the areas of research and innovation in order to tackle water issues at a local, national and global scale. This year, thousands of participants in countries all over the world joined national competitions for the chance to represent their nation at the international final held during the World Water Week in Stockholm. The competition is open to young people between the age of 15 and 20 who have conducted water-related projects of environmental, scientific, social or technological importance. The international winner receives a US$5,000 award and a prize sculpture. As a result of the national competitions, thousands of young people around the world become interested in water. All Nations Affair This year 55 students from 28 countries entered the competition, all eager to take home the prestigious prize. The Stockholm Junior Water Prize, coordinated by the Stockholm International Water Institute, welcomed the winners of national competitions in Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Canada, Chile, China, Cyprus, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Singapore, Slovak Republic, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, Ukraine, the US and Vietnam. Three students from Singapore took home the prestigious prize for their research on how clay can be used to remove and recover pollutants from wastewater. Upon hearing the result the team said they were excited and surprised. “We didn’t expect it. We are very happy. When we return home we will propose our idea to the Public Utility Board of Singapore (PUB) and hopefully they will implement it.’’ The students investigated how non-ionic surfactants such as soap, detergents and cosmetics could be removed from wastewater. They came up with the solution to the problem when they found out how difficult it was to remove these substances and realised the use of current methods often produced a hazardous sludge, which had to be disposed of. The students used bentonite clay to remove 100 per cent of the non-ionic surfactants that could then be flushed with alcohol and reused. This method means pollutants could be removed and recovered without the generation of waste and was a technique that could be implemented all around the world. SJWP Australian entrant I-Ji Jung at the award ceremony. HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden (centre, holding flowers) presented the 2012 Stockholm Junior Water Prize. Photo:CeCiliaÖsterberg.Photo:CeCiliaÖsterberg.
Water Journal December 2012
Water Journal September 2012-1