Annabelle M. Rayson from Canada has received the prestigious 2022 Stockholm Junior Water Prize for her research on how to treat and prevent harmful algae blooms. HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden announced the winner during a ceremony at World Water Week in Stockholm.
Harmful algae blooms plague aquatic ecosystems around the world. They impact water quality and ecosystem diversity, cause dead zones, and cost the fishing and tourism industries millions of dollars.
Rayson’s father, a commercial fisherman, could no longer fish in certain areas due to harmful algae blooms, so her research involved finding a method to treat and prevent harmful algae blooms.
Rayson learned the concept of biomanipulation, and which species of zooplankton was best to treat and prevent algae blooms. For her project, she was announced as the winner of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize, an international competition where students between the ages of 15 and 20 present solutions to major water challenges.
Speaking on winning the prize, Rayson said:
“It’s an absolute honor to be here with so many other brilliant young people, representing all the small-town little girls out there, dreaming of her own microscope and lab coat. Hey girls, we can still make it.”
The Jury for the prize noted: “The winning entry has a potential solution for a multi-faceted global problem. It is not just an issue for human health, but it also affects water courses and the species that live within them. Of the challenges we face in terms of public health, many are intimately intertwined with water quality, and the winner – dedicated, passionate and creative – has conducted extensive, bio-inspired research to address this pervasive issue.”
The winner was presented with her prize during an award ceremony at World Water Week by HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, the Prize’s Official Patron.
The Diploma of Excellence was awarded to Laura Nedel Drebes and Camily Pereira dos Santos from Brazil, for their project addressing the issue with period poverty – the inaccessibility to sanitary pads, with their development of sustainable and affordable sanitary pads from industrial by-products.
“I don’t have words,” said Camily Pereira dos Santos. “I am just so proud to be here to represent my country with a project that I love so much.”
The People’s Choice Award went to Mishal Faraz from United Arab Emirates, completing the all-female line-up of winners. Her “My Water Bottle Project” is a gamified platform for schools, designed to discourage the use of single-use plastic water bottles and strengthen water security.
The Stockholm Junior Water Prize has been organized every year since 1997 by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), with Xylem as Founding Partner.
“All Stockholm Junior Water Prize participants show passion and ingenuity that is truly inspiring and an important contribution towards a better future and a more water-wise world,” said Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director at Stockholm International Water Institute. “Stockholm Junior Water Prize is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate these contributions.”
Patrick Decker, Xylem’s CEO, added:
“On behalf of more than 17,000 Xylem colleagues around the world, I applaud all Stockholm Junior Water Prize 2022 participants, bringing their passion and their innovation to solve the world’s major water challenges. These students inspire us by embodying what’s possible when innovators from around the world come together – with bold ideas and conviction – to solve water.”
For more information on the prize, visit: www.siwi.org/prizes
Learn how Xylem Ignite is building a network of passionate student leaders and empowering them to drive real changes in the water industry.