2012 Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge winners announced

August 2012

The winners of the 2012 Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge were announced on Sunday at a reception hosted by Youngsuk (“YS”) Chi, Director of Corporate Affairs, Reed Elsevier, during World Water Week in Stockholm.

The Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge was launched in November, inviting innovative solutions to improve sustainable access to safe water and sanitation. The two winning projects were chosen from 140 applicants by a distinguished panel of judges.

The $50,000 first prize winner was Tommy Ngai, Director of Research Learning at the Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology (CAWST). Ngai’s project modifies conventional Biosand Filters with iron particles to remove all three classes of water contaminants, including viruses, and bring safe drinking water to two impoverished rural villages in Nepal. Over a period of two years 150 filters will be installed, and CAWST will update its educational material and hold workshops to promote the technology. The project will target over 1,000 people in the two villages and has the potential to be scaled to help millions over the next 10 years.

Tommy said: “CAWST is very pleased that Reed Elsevier recognises the treatment of water in the home as one of the proven options to provide safe drinking water for Nepal, especially in rural villages. The Biosand filter has great potential to become widely and sustainably used for improving water quality to reduce waterborne disease and death.”

The $25,000 second prize winner was Lindsay Stradley of Sanergy. Lindsay will expand a pilot project in Nairobi to ensure that hygienic sanitation becomes accessible and affordable through a network of small-scale, high-quality sanitation centres close to homes. In Kenya 8.5m people live in slums with 80 per cent of the communities lacking access to adequate sanitation. Sanergy toilets are franchised to local entrepreneurs and stimulate the local economy by turning waste into products—organic fertiliser sold to farms, and electricity sold to the national grid.

"We are thrilled to be recognised by the Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge,” said Lindsay.  “The Reed Elsevier brand and expertise in science and technology lends credibility to our work in building out sustainable sanitation in urban slums.”

YS Chi, Director, Corporate Affairs, Reed Elsevier, remarked: "The two winning projects embody the innovative but practical and scalable solutions prioritized by the Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge. Our Challenge is a tangible demonstration that the dissemination of research, knowledge and ideas can be a powerful force for improving health and quality of life.”

To find out more about the Challenge and the winning projects, you can read the press release here or visit the Environmental Challenge website.