Lalita Prasida Sripada Srisai, a Class IX student who hails from Damanjodi in Koraput district in Odisha, won the Community Impact Award at the prestigious Google Science Fair 2015 held in California. The 14-year-old has developed a cheap method of cleaning waste water, which uses waste corncobs as a key ingredient. The purifier cleans waste water by flowing through different layers of corncobs. This is a cost-effective and simple technique, which is useful for immobilizing the contaminants in ponds, reservoirs and water tanks. She was awarded $10,000 as prize money and is being mentored by Google to build the project.
As part of the project, Lalita Prasida used waste corncobs in order to purify water from domestic as well as industrial wastes, by applying the principle of adsorption. In her experiment, Lalita Prasida found that waste corncobs are able to absorb contaminants like salt oxides, detergent, suspended particles, coloured dyes, oil, grease and even some heavy metals.
“I like to visit nearby villages and observe their lifestyle. Villagers’ lifestyle revolve around agriculture, in cultivating many varieties of crops. This developed an interest in me to focus on science and develop something new, related to agriculture,” Lalita Prasida told NDTV.