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13-year-old Indian girl’s water purifier wins her prestigious Google Community Impact Award

Lalita Prasida Sripada Srisai 2

A 13-year-old, class IX student at Delhi Public School, Damanjodi, has made India proud by winning the ‘Community Impact Award’ at the prestigious Google Science Fair in California on Tuesday, September 22.

Lalita Prasida Sripada Srisai who belongs to a backward region in Odisha’s Koraput district, was awarded with prize money of $10,000 for her invention – a low-cost bio-absorbent-based water purifier. It’s important to note here; Scientific American, a reputed and well known journal, will support and sponsor her research for one year.

The purifier uses waste corns cobs, which otherwise are of no use, as key ingredient. Cobs are sun-dried for a month, cut into pieces, grounded to powder, and burnt to form activated charcoal.

indian girl at google science fair 2015

When waste water is passed through different layers, most of the contaminants are trapped on the surface of this material. The method not only purified domestic waste water, but also trapped most industrial effluents and chemicals.

In her project statement, she said,

“Aquatic ecosystems support various life forms. Discharge of contaminants into water bodies is a matter of concern all over the World. Thus, the waste water released from different sources should be purified at source. This project aims to clean waste water by flowing through different layers of corn cobs like long pieces of corn cobs, small pieces of corn cobs, powdered corn cobs, activated charcoal made from corn cobs and fine sand. This is a cost-effective and simple technique. This is useful for immobilizing the contaminants in domestic and industrial effluents, and in ponds, reservoirs and water tanks.”

Lalita Prasida Sripada Srisai

Her invention can help poor and backward regions of her own state/country, as well as other nations facing water-crisis.

Corn cobs are discarded as waste, therefore, are available in abundance for no cost at all. This makes her invention really affordable for even the poverty stricken regions.

Lalita competed in 13-15-year age group at the fifth annual Google Science Fair, the results of which were announced live from Google headquarters in Mountain View, California. She was the only Indian among the eight winners at the fair.

Her parents, school teachers including principal are very proud and celebrating her win at a global platform. The school is planning a major function to honor Lalita, once she is back in the country.