The 14th annual international competition for the Stockholm Junior Water Prize concluded this evening. The winners, Alexandre Allard and Danny Luong from Canada were handed the prize by H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden at a ceremony at the World Water Week in Stockholm. Their research on biodegradation of the plastic Polystyrene won them the prize.
"Every year more and more chemical debris is introduced in the environment and water bodies around the world. Research has shown these chemicals can release toxics into the water, they can be harmful for the environment, and deadly to life in water. Much of the debris in the world's waterways are plastics which is used for fast food containers, disposable cups, and packing material for example. To date, there is no natural solution to safely take care of these harmful plastics. The winning project created a novel approach to break-down these plastics using micro-organisms and enzymes that are cost effective, and readily available. This method could greatly reduce the amount of plastics that end up in the world's waters," said the International Jury in its citation.
"Expanded Polystyrine (EPS) is a great threat to the environment since it contributes to the spread of toxins such as styrene and bisphenol A into our waters. We hope that our method will be widely used and consequently increase the water quality in the world," said the winners after receiving the prize.
The international Stockholm Junior Water Prize competition brings together the world's brightest young scientists to encourage their continued interest in water and the environment. Each year, thousands of participants in over 30 countries join national competitions for the chance to represent their nation at the international final held during the World Water Week in Stockholm, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. The international winner receives a USD 5,000 award and a prize sculpture. As a result of the competitions, thousands of young people around the world become interested in water.
"We believe the Stockholm Junior Water Prize has the power to transform our industry by engaging students—the next generation of water leaders —to address critical water issues," said Gretchen McClain, president of ITT's Fluid and Motion Control group. "As water pollution and scarcity continue to threaten areas around the globe, the innovative research that this competition generates year after year gives us confidence that we can rise above future global water challenges."
Excellence Diploma to China
A Diploma of Excellence was given to Ms. Yingxin Li, Mr. Zhaonan Yang and Ms. Wanling Chen from China for their project "Novel Soil Remedation Technology for South China" The international Jury said "their project neatly addresses the theme of this year's World Water Week: The water quality challenge. The team of extremely enthusiastic and dedicated students worked both in the field and in the laboratory for a long time. Their effort resulted in an exceptional report dealing with several crucial water quality-related problems including fertiliser loss, recycling of waste, and the improvement of soil fertility. The technique developed by the students holds great promise to help solve some of today's most pressing problems within the agricultural sector."
About the Stockholm Junior Water Prize
The competition is open to young people between 15-20 years of age, who have conducted water-related projects focusing on local, regional, national or global topics of environmental, scientific, social or technological importance. As a result of the competitions, thousands of young people around the world develop personal interests, undertake academic study, and often pursue careers in the water or environmental fields. H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden is the Patron of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize. The winner receives an award of USD 5,000 and a handmade blue crystal sculpture. The Stockholm International Water Institute administers the competition, which is sponsored globally by ITT Corporation. The official suppliers for the competition are Infobahn, Halebop, Hertz, People Travel Group and Trosa Tryckeri.
SOURCE: The Stockholm International Water Institute