For Lalita, 13, a DPS student from Odisha, Google Science Fair 2015 award for her project utilizing corn cobs was to filter polluted water came as an apt appreciation of her extrapolation of nature’s observation.
She won the Community Impact Award for her project, which makes a practical difference by addressing environmental, health and resources challenges.
Lalita Prasida Sripada Srisai, a Class 9 student at Delhi Public School, Damanjodi, was the only Indian to win the prize though five others are of Indian origin. Three of them are from the US and one each from the United Kingdom and Singapore.
Lalita received $10,000 award at the finals of the Google Science Fair in the United States on Tuesday for her low-cost water purifier. In addition she will receive support in her research from the journal, Scientific American, for one year.
“It is a big achievement for a student from a backward district to sparkle in a global platform. Her achievement will boost the confidence of other children to make their dreams a reality,” said Pallabi Mahapatro, a teacher at DPS Damanjodi.
Appreciating her was Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who said, “Lalita has made Odisha and the country proud with her achievement.”
Lalita used corn cobs for her project. She dried them under Sun for a month and then cut them into long and small pieces, made powder grinding them and burnt it to form activated charcoal.
Based on the principle of adsorption, contaminants are trapped on the surface of a material, creating an outside coating and purifying the water of the pollutants. It was found that most industrial effluents and chemicals were also filtered by her project, showing a high potential for it to be replicated in water treatment plants all over the world.
Google Science Fair team in its appreciation of project said, “This study reveals a novel and cheap method of cleaning water waste from domestic and industrial sources by utilizing one of the most under-utilised agricultural wastes.”
Here are other winners: