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Remember that article we ran mid-August; about the fruit girl who developed a superabsorbent polymer (SAP) out of orange peels and avocado skins? Well, that girl, 16-year-old Kiara Nirghin from Johannesburg, South Africa, bagged the Google Science Fair 2016 Grand Prize this past Tuesday.

Nirghin project summited to the fair won as it seeks to mitigate the adverse effects of global warming in Southern Africa. Her home country, South Africa like many other countries on the continent has been hit by one of the worst droughts in history. The country recorded the lowest rainfall ever since 1904. Nirghin’s project wants to retain more moisture inside the soil from the less frequent rainfall that falls on the land.

Out of orange peels and avocado skins, she came up with a compound that holds hundred times of water in weight and keeps the soil moist for longer. The best part of her product is that it can be readily made out of kitchen waste and biodegradable materials. Meaning farmers will not be adding more toxic chemicals into their farms, which are also non-biodegradable. Not forgetting, the alternative she present is also much affordable to farmers.

The SAP is a soil ready water storage medium while also acting as an eco-friendly means for disposing waste from fruit juice producing companies. Nirghin’s project beat other thousands of submissions from innovators and inventors from over 100 countries to the first place.

Other notable submissions to the Google Science Fair 2016

The National Geographic Explorer Award

Went to 18-year-old Mphatso Simbao from Zambia.

The Virgin Galactic Pioneer Award

Won by 16-year-old Charlie Fenske from USA

The Scientific American Innovator Award

Went to the trio Ashton Cofer (14), Luke Clay (14), and Julia Bray (14) from USA.

The Lego® Education Builder Award

To 13-year-old Anushka Naiknaware from USA.

The Inspiring Educator Award

Fabio Bruschi is an educator who goes out of his job description and out of his way to ensure his students are inspired to ask questions and have a new perspective to the world.

Community Impact Award

Awarded to 15-year-old Alex Howard from USA. His submission was study into making and using carbon-coated sea shells to filter water contaminated with lead.

Community Impact Award

Went to the duo Ilayda Sirbas (15) and Ezgi Tezer (15) for their innovation on an eco-friendly way of increasing blast and impact resistance of reinforced concrete.

Community Impact Award

Awarded to 14-year-old Advay Ramesh from India. He came up with a handheld terminal (FishErmen Lifeline Terminal (FELT)) device to help peasant fishermen in their navigation in the outer waters of the India sea waters. And prevent them from being arrested by Sri Lanka authorities for crossing the International Maritime Boundary line.

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