Presenting the first finalist of the 2021 Children’s Climate Prize – Jacqueline Prawira from Mountain House, USA
Among hundreds of nominations, the jury of Children’s Climate Prize has now selected five finalists that will be presented during the fall. The first one to be presented is Jacqueline Prawira, 17 years old from Mountain House, USA. With the invention Cyclo.Cloud, Jacqueline upcycles fish scale waste to adsorb heavy metals from wastewater. In an innovative and simple way, Jacqueline’s solution contributes to combating water pollution and thus, decreasing water scarcity.
Water scarcity is a big challenge globally and one of the main contributors to the problem is water pollution. Heavy metal pollution in water has grown exponentially with industrialization and most wastewater treatment plants lack procedures or legal protocols to remove heavy metals from wastewater. As a result, toxic concentrations of heavy metals are being released into the environment where they persist for generations and bioaccumulate in the food chain. Jacqueline Prawira wanted to do something about this and invented Cyclo.Cloud, a solution that utilizes fish scale waste to adsorb up to 82 % of heavy metals from contaminated wastewater. Thanks to her great invention, Jacqueline is named one of five finalists who have the chance to be the winner of this year’s Children’s Climate Prize.
– Winning the Children’s Climate Prize would be an amazing experience! Earning this prize would be a major milestone telling me that the work I have completed so far is headed in the right direction, and would be a major global acknowledgment of the environmental importance of a circular economy. Making this shift in mindset to view waste as an untapped resource is a key step to achieving long-term sustainability and preserving our resources, says Jacqueline Prawira.
Cyclo.Cloud is unused remains of fish scales that have been recycled and transformed into a biosorbent, which is placed in polluted wastewater and absorbs heavy metals from the water. The absorbed heavy metals are recycled and the wastewater is turned into a resource for drinking water, which creates a circular economy that both contributes to climate change adaptation and mitigation.
The winner of the Children’s Climate Prize is announced in November and receives a diploma, medal and the prize money of SEK 100,000 to develop their project further. Starting this fall, Jacqueline will pursue a materials science and engineering degree at MIT and does already know how she would use the money if she wins the prize.
– The prize money would further my research in upcycling widely available wastes that can be transformed into low-cost solutions to environmental problems. I am aiming to develop a real-world, on-the-market product that prevents the accumulation of waste and pollution globally by reclaiming them for consumer use first before composting and returning to the environment, helping integrate our material economy with nature’s circular economy.