Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge shortlists 2014 projects

25 June 2014

Four projects that will bring safe water and sanitation to communities around the world

The Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge shortlist has been announced, highlighting four innovative ideas to provide sustainable access to safe water and sanitation. Winners will be announced in September and will also be featured in Elsevier’s journal  Water Research. The first prize winner will receive $50,000 with $25,000 for second place.

In addition, a WASH Alliance prize of $15,000 will be given again this year to the third place finisher. The WASH Alliance is a consortium of six Dutch NGOs promoting hygienic use of sustainable water and sanitation for all. All three winners will also be reimbursed for relevant training and professional development up to $2,500 each.

The shortlisted projects offer a range of affordable and accessible solutions to water and sanitation challenges in the developing world. They include a ceramic disk water filter and storage system in Guatemala; an automated chlorine dosing device in Bangladesh; a unisex urinal producing fertiliser in Uganda; and a waterborne waste treatment system for floating households in Cambodia.  Shortlisted candidates will receive one year’s full access to relevant Reed Elsevier publications such as the Journal of Water Research to help them advance their work.

Projects were evaluated by water researchers and a panel of expert judges including Dr Sarah Bell, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Engineering, University College London; Dr Prasad Modak, Executive President of the Environmental Management Centre in India; Professor Gang Pan, Research Center for Eco-environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences; Dr Mark van Loosdrecht, Professor of Biochemical Engineering, Delft University of Technology; and Hanny Mass, Programme Manager of the Dutch WASH Alliance.  Key criteria for the Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge are solutions that are replicable, scalable, sustainable and innovative. They must also have practical applicability and involve local communities and other key stakeholders.

The Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge was launched in 2011 to contribute to the Water for Life Decade, established by the UN General Assembly between 2005 and 2015. The aim of the Water for Life Decade is to support the Millennium Development Goal of reducing by half the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. World Health Organisation data from 2011 showed 768m people are dependent on unsafe drinking water sources, and 2.5bn people lack access to improved sanitation facilities.

Dr Christiane Barranguet, Executive Publisher Physical Sciences, Elsevier said, “The Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge applies Elsevier’s products, tools and capabilities to advance science and health, to address the needs of populations lacking safe water and sanitation. We also ensure continued access to the latest scientific and technical developments and involve key stakeholders in the water and sanitation fields.”

To learn more, please visit the Environmental Challenge website. You can see videos of previous winning projects here, and details on Reed Elsevier’s corporate responsibility agenda here.

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Emmy Stevens
+44 (0) 20 7166 5612

Notes to Editors

Please find a list of the Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge shortlisted projects below:

• Ecofiltro S.A., a private social enterprise company, is looking to develop and commercialise a new type of household water treatment and safe storage system using a ceramic disk filter—a simple, effective and affordable treatment. Their short-term goal (within three years) is to “reach scale” in Guatemala by supplying 1 million people with the filter, especially in low-income Mayan Indian communities who suffer the most from contaminated water supplies. In the long term, the goal is to expand to all of Central America, partnering with local distributors and NGOs.

• Researchers with the Stanford Program on Water, Health and Development have designed a community-scale, fully automated chlorine dosing device for shared water points in low-income urban settings that requires neither reliable electricity nor 24/7 supply to function consistently. With support from the Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge, they would be able to construct, install and maintain 150 devices serving 10,000 people in Dhaka, Bangladesh. These installation sites will be used to evaluate health impacts and test the viability of two potential business models.

• Sustainable Sanitation Design has developed a unisex urinal – a sanitation service product serving both urban users and farmers through the collection of cheap organic fertilisers. Prize money would allow production of the first 10,000 units for residents of urban slums in Kampala, Uganda. The income created through the value chain will be sufficient to keep the project moving and be replicated in the different part of the world.

• Wetlands Work! (WW!) has developed the HandyPod – a waterborne treatment system for floating households. Using two-stage sequestration and treatment that includes aquatic plants, the HandyPod effectively treats human waste to a standard where the receiving ambient water is protected. WW! will offer technical and sales training to entrepreneurs, building both the supply of, and demand for, sanitation in floating and flooded settlements. WW! will demonstrate the viability of this approach in ten floating communities located on Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake, benefiting 12,000 people.

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