2021 Stockholm Junior Water Prize winner announced at World Water Week

Water Resources

Congratulations to Eshani Jha from the US, named today as this year’s winner of the Junior Water Prize in Stockholm for her research, Thiol functionalised and manganese-dioxide doped biochar for the removal of toxic organic and inorganic contaminants from water.

Eshani's research tackles global water pollution. It aims to "remove key classes of contaminants by manipulating biochar surface area, controlling chemical composition and catalytic properties for oxidative breakdown, adding surface complexing agents, and modifying intrinsic pore size."

She explained: "Less than 1 per cent of the earth’s water is easily accessible to us as freshwater and nearly half of this water is heavily polluted with pesticides, emerging contaminants, and heavy metals due to waste from industry, human establishments, and agriculture".

The Stockholm Junior Water Prize annual competition started in 1997 and is now a popular part of World Water Week, which takes place every August in Sweden. It is hosted by Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI).

This year the competition received applications from 32 countries and chose 44 participants for the international finals. Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden announced the 2021 winners today (24 August), in a virtual award ceremony.

Future Kongchu and Thanawit Namjaidee from Damrongratsongkroh School in Thailand received the Diploma of Excellence for their research, Biomoisture-nutrient absorbing belt for promoting sugarcane seedlings’ growth from the local waste.

Their research focused on maintaining soil moisture to accelerate growth for sugarcane seedlings, reducing use of water, and preventing pests. "The problem of drought, limited water resources and pest infestation is a major problem for sugarcane seedling growth,” they explained.

The People’s Choice Award went to Gabriel Fernandes Mello Ferreira from Brazil, for his research, Development of a microplastic retention mechanism in water-treatment plants (WTPs).

"The idea of my project came from a necessity to solve the problem of microplastics in water, especially treated water,” he said. “I developed a filter for microplastics for treatment plants. The filter shows a big efficiency on labs tests, reaching 80 per cent efficiency in our tests and removing microplastics even smaller than 300µm." Read the full list of finalists and their projects here.

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