International Cooperation

Students from Vologda Oblast - finalists at the international Stockholm Junior Water Prize

07.12.2007

Alexei Razgulov and Anna Prudnichenkova, high school students from Gryazovets (Vologda Oblast) represented Russia and competed with more than 30 countries at the International Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP) competition on August 11-17, 2007.

The Stockholm Junior Water Prize that takes place in Sweden during World Water Week is the most prestigious international youth award for high school water science research. Its purpose is to increase students' interest in water-related issues and research. The award is given annually for an outstanding water project by a young person or a small group of young people.

The International SJWP was founded by the Stockholm Water Foundation. HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden is the patron of the prize.

The students from Gryazovets first won a national SJWP contest which is open to young people between 15-20 years of age, who have conducted water-related projects focusing on local, regional, national or global topics of environmental, scientific, social or technological importance.

In Sweden Anna and Alexei exhibited their project "Revival of Small Rivers with the Aid of Biological Ponds" at the Stockholm Water Symposium where they discussed it with the jury, researchers, politicians and the media. Small rivers in the Russian Federation face two central problems: water pollution and reduced water flow. Alexei and Anna's study looked into the environmental rehabilitation of the Rzhavka river - a small river in the Upper Volga river basin - and proposed an original solution to the problem of water pollution.

They suggested accumulating and cleaning the river water in semi-flowing biological ponds. This low-cost solution takes into account specific features of the local landscape and the environmental characteristics of the river's ecosystem. Water purification ponds can serve as efficient mechanisms of water pollution abatement. In 2006, using locally available construction materials, they designed and erected an experimental dam in the lower reach of Rzhavka river.

Local residents and the municipal authorities enthusiastically supported the project. In order to bring concentrations of water pollutants down to maximum permissible limits, two or three additional biological ponds in the middle and lower reaches of the river were recommended.

In 2007 a group of young people from Mexico presenting the project "Elimination of Pb(II) from Water via Bio-adsorption Using Eggshell" won the Stockholm Junior Water Prize. Nevertheless, HM Queen Silvia noted that the work of Russian finalists Alexei and Anna also merits attention.

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