STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN, Aug. 26, 2015 -- During an award ceremony held on Tuesday, Aug. 25, at World Water Week (Aug. 23-28) in Stockholm, Sweden, Perry Alagappan from the United States received the 2015 Stockholm Junior Water Prize for inventing a filter through which toxic heavy metals from electronic waste can be removed from water.
Rapid advances in technology have resulted in a significant rise of electronic waste in waters, which contains highly toxic heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium and lead. "I became interested in water purification when I visited my grandparents in India and saw with my own eyes how electronic waste severely contaminated the environment," Perry explained.
That was three years ago. Now at 18, after intensive research and experimentation, Perry won the Stockholm Junior Water Prize for his invention. Combining his interest for water with that of nanotechnology, he created a first-of-its-kind filter that removes over 99 percent of heavy metal contaminants from drinking and industrial wastewater.
"This project addresses a critical water issue with broad implications for the whole world," the Jury said in its citation. "Through its sound science and sustainable technology, the solution is scalable from household to industrial scale for a broad range of applications. The technology used in the project could revolutionize the way water can be treated and heavy metals recovered."
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. This year, thousands of participants in countries all over the globe joined national competitions for the chance to represent their nation at the international final held during the World Water Week in Stockholm. Teams from 29 countries competed in the 2015 finals.