This year’s Community Impact Award at the Google Science Fair was bagged by the 13-year-old Lalita Prasida who hails from Odisha, India because she developed a water purifier using waste corn cobs. Prasida studies in the 9th standard of DPS Damanjodi and has been awarded prize money of $10,000 and will also be mentored by Google for building her project. For her project, Prasida made use of waste corn cobs so as to clean and purify water by making use of the adsorption principle.
Prasida found in her research that waste corn cobs can adsorb impurities like detergents, salt oxides, suspended particles, grease, coloured dyes, oils and even some sort of heavy metals. Prasida’s page on the website of Google Science Fair says that if the drain pipes of household are stacked with different corn cob layers, then at least 70-80 % contaminants can be separated which include suspended particles present in waste water.
Prasida also concluded that corn cobs can be rightly used for cleaning water bodies like rivers, tanks and ponds. According to her, corn cobs can be easily fitted to the lower heights of the bamboos which are submerged in water and this can eventually be useful for cleaning ponds and rivers. This can also prove useful to clean overhead water tanks and community tanks.
Prasida’s idea got the right flame when she came across a tribal farmer who told her about the low utilisation of corn cobs and this later encouraged her to find more uses of corn cobs. She also plans to do higher education in agriculture studies.