Two Pakistani students have won third position after competing with more than 1,500 students from 52 nations at the world’s largest pre-college scientific research event.
The two teenage girls, Mehwish Ghafoor and Ambreen Bibi, study biology at the Federal Government College for Women, Islamabad. They won third place in the field of environmental sciences at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair which concluded in Los Angeles on Thursday.
The research project titled “Degradation of Environment Pollutant with Nano-composites” talks about a method to make polluted water drinkable. The girls also got a $1,000 reward for developing the technique.
“This is something we will never forget,” said the two girls while talking to The Express Tribune. Ghafoor termed it ‘the best week of her life’ because she learnt to appreciate science in a new way while Bibi said that she is extremely happy to make her parents proud.
“It feels good to have won especially given the stiff competition,” said Ghafoor.
Ghafoor is hoping that her project will be funded so that it can be made commercially viable.
“We are hoping that there are people who will take interest in our project and sponsor it to spread all over the country,” she said, adding that Pakistan was a country where people were looking for viable solutions to resolve their water problems.
The two girls came up with the idea for this project because they were concerned about Pakistan’s growing water problems and the need for clean drinkable water.
“Discharging untreated sewage and chemical wastes directly into rivers, lakes and drains has become a traditional habit. Water bodies can no longer cope with the increasing pollution load. To rectify this, we came up with this idea,” said Bibi.
“We hold the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair because we believe that mathematics and science are imperative for innovation,” said Intel Pakistan Country Manager Naveed Siraj.
“This global competition features youth trying to solve the world’s most pressing challenges through science,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 15th, 2011.