Water Woes, Asian Solutions

Young Asians with their solutions to the global water problem.

INDONESIA

Sabtu, 14 Sep 2013 13:22 WIB

Author

Ric Wasserman

Water Woes, Asian Solutions

Sweden, Water, innovation, Ric Wasserman

World Water Week is the world’s leading international symposium on water.  Bringing together over 3000 delegates from 90 countries, the congress has a special focus this year: cooperation.

Over 80% of the rivers in Asia are in poor health impacting communities, businesses and ecosystems.

The Water Symposium this year was a provocative forum.

In looking for solutions to the world’s water problems, young professionals spoke their minds, some lashing out at the older generation in a panel debate.

“We know that in 2050 all the problems that are being faced will be overwhelming if we continue what we are doing. The world that you kind of ruined…the world that you’re leaving for us and the next generation... we could improve it together.”

The conference was held following the UN’s declaration that 2013 shall be the Year of Water Cooperation.

In one corner, young hopeful science students from high schools in 29 countries came to vie for the coveted Junior Water Prize.

One was Thanwarat from a village in Thailand, where so many rivers are polluted by industrial waste.

”Most of the areas in Thailand have rivers, people live near rivers and use the water in the rivers. And if the water in the river contains heavy metals people can get a disease.”

Thanwarat and her two friends in the Mahidol National Science High School won the first prize in the Thailand national competition for their invention on how to clean waste water.
 
“Thanwarat Clip 2 (Female, English):”We started in the laboratory to see the efficiency of the bio absorbents. To absorb cadmium ions, lead, and copper ions.”

Thanawat points to a small scale model where a pump forces waste water through a membrane.

The trio employed natural absorbers as purifiers;  sawdust, coconut fibre and rice husks which are easily available and cheap.

The results are amazing: their invention removed up to 98% of the heavy metals.

Team leader for the national science team from Sri Lanka, Banduni Premaratne sums up the reason why the youth often come up with the best solutions.

“They come up with interesting solutions to solve the most burning issues in the water sector, because they are not money-minded.”

At the awards ceremony the Thailand students held out hope, but… “The winner of the 2013 Junior Water Prize is CHILE!”

They might not win, but South Korea, Singapore and Thailand teams – all dealth with water purification – might find themselves working together in the future.

And there’s one thing the young Asian students have in common, says Thanawat; that’s to help people.

“A lot of people did projects about heavy metals, but only in the laboratory. That’s why we want to create an instrument for the people to use.”




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