For her research on the removal of carbon dioxide and oil products from the ocean, Naomi Park from the US was awarded the Stockholm Junior Water Prize 2023, an international competition where students between the ages of 15 and 20 present solutions to major water challenges. Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden presented Park and other awardees at World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden. The prize is organised annually since 1997 by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), with water solutions company Xylem as its founding partner.
In her research, Park is said to develop a method to remove ocean contaminants as reportedly nearly a third of airborne carbon dioxide emissions is absorbed by the ocean and 1.3 million gallons of crude oil are spilled into oceans yearly which affect marine biodiversity and human health. For this, she was announced the winner of Stockholm Junior Water Prize.
The jury noted that “by using styrofoam and creating a ‘sponge’ that absorbs both carbon dioxide and oil products from the ocean, this student has built a model and tested it in multiple conditions, even simulating ocean waves with results.”
The Diploma of Excellence was awarded to Ayse Pelin Dedeler from Türkiye for her study on how to capture microplastics with magnetic nano-adsorbents and remove them from the water using strong magnets. The People’s Choice Award went to Fernando de Silva Hernández and Carlos Erquizio from Mexico, completing the lineup of winners.
In a statement, Karin Gardes, SIWI acting executive director said that this prize is a “tribute to a generation of motivated young people”. Xylem president and CEO Patrick Decker added that “22,000 Xylem colleagues and its partners around the world honour the awardees in the global movement to solve water”.