Japanese students win Stockholm Junior Water Prize

Three students from Japan who developed an alternative, organic fertilizer to help protect groundwater supplies were awarded the prestigious Stockholm Junior Water Prize during World Water Week in Stockholm...

Aug 18th, 2004

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Aug. 18, 2004 -- Tsutomu Kawahira, Daisuke Sunakawa and Kaori Yamaguti from Japan were awarded the prestigious Stockholm Junior Water Prize tonight in a formal ceremony at Dansens Hus in Stockholm, during the World Water Week in Stockholm. Tsutomu, Daisuke and Kaori, students at Okinawa Prefectual Miyako Agriculture and Forestry High school, received the Prize from the hands of HRH Crown Princess Victoria on behalf of the Stockholm Water Foundation. They also received a $5,000 scholarship and a crystal sculpture.

The Stockholm Junior Water Prize is presented each year to a high-school age student(s) for an outstanding water-related project focusing on topics of environmental, scientific, social or technological importance. The international honor is given to an individual or group who, like their 25 co-competitors, has been awarded the top prize among national competitions. The National Country winners travel to Stockholm from as far a field as Israel, Australia and Vietnam. The Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) administers the competition on behalf of the Stockholm Water Foundation. The international competition is sponsored globally by ITT Industries.

The Nominating Committee, in its official motivation, awarded the Prize to Tsutomu Kawahira, Daisuke Sunakawa and Kaori Yamaguti from Japan "for the development and application of an environmentally friendly organic fertilizer for the Miyako Island. The method is applicable to many places around the world."

The winning entry
* Protecting groundwater by creating and using an environmentally friendly fertilizer
Since it lacks surface water, the Japanese island of Miyakojima relies solely on groundwater for its freshwater needs. Unfortunately, much of the groundwater is contaminated due to the extensive use of commercial agricultural fertilizers, which are rich in the pollutants nitrate nitrogen and phosphorus. Tsutomu, Daisuke and Kaori developed an environmentally friendly, organic fertilizer as an alternative to commercial fertilizers. Combined with proper management techniques, the organic fertilizer not only gives Miyakojima's farmers the ability to reduce the nitrate contamination; it even recycles phosphorus accumulated in the soils. An Honourable Mention was also given to Ron Neuman from Israel, for his "development of an innovative microbial sensor based on engineered bacteria to monitor toxic chemicals in water."

"Often dismissed as a long-term problem, the global water environment is now in a debilitated state and requires immediate focus on how to best manage and recycle this vital resource. Education, primarily among our youth, is necessary to ensure a future that has a water environment healthy and robust enough to support our growing world," said Robert Ayers, President of ITT Industries' Fluid Technology. "The Stockholm Junior Water Prize helps meet that objective and is the reason ITT Industries has been the proud global sponsor for six years."

About the prize
The Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) administers the competition on behalf of the Stockholm Water Foundation. The international competition is sponsored globally by ITT Industries.

The Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) is a policy think tank that contributes to international efforts to combat the world's escalating water crisis. SIWI advocates future-oriented, knowledge-integrated water views in decision making, nationally and internationally, that lead to sustainable use of the world's water resources and sustainable development of societies. For general information, visit www.siwi.org.

About sponsors and organizers
In the United States, the Water Environment Federation is the National Organizer of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize, and ITT Industries is the National Sponsor. WEF is a not-for-profit technical and educational organization with members from varied disciplines who work toward the WEF vision of preservation and enhancement of the global water environment.

ITT Industries Inc. supplies advanced technology products and services in key markets including: electronic interconnects and switches; defense communication, opto-electronics, information technology and services; fluid and water management and other industrial products. The company reported 2003 revenues of $5.62 billion. For general information, visit www.itt.com.

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