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Three Japanese students were awarded the prestigious Stockholm Junior Water Prize in a formal ceremony at Dansens Hus in Stockholm, during the World Water Week. Tsutomu Kawahira, Kaori Yamaguti, Daisuke Sunakawa, students at Okinawa Prefectual Miyako Agriculture and Forestry High school, received the Prize from the hands of HRH Crown Princess Victoria on behalf of the Stockholm Water Foundation. They also received a $5,000 scholarship and a crystal sculpture.
The Nominating Committee awarded the prize "for the development and application of an environmentally friendly organic fertilizer for the Miyako Island. The method is applicable to many places around the world." Protecting Groundwater by Creating and Using an Environmentally Friendly Fertilizer.
Since it lacks surface water, the Japanese island of Miyakojima relies solely on groundwater for its freshwater needs. Unfortunately, much of the groundwater is contaminated due to the extensive use of commercial agricultural fertilizers, which are rich in the pollutants nitrate nitrogen and phosphorus. Tsutomu, Daisuke and Kaori developed an environmentally friendly, organic fertilizer as an alternative to commercial fertilizers. Combined with proper management techniques, the organic fertilizer not only gives Miyakojima's farmers the ability to reduce the nitrate contamination; it even recycles phosphorus accumulated in the soils. An Honorable Mention was also given to Ron Neuman from Israel, for his "development of an innovative microbial sensor based on engineered bacteria to monitor toxic chemicals in water."
The Stockholm Junior Water Prize is presented each year to a high-school age students for an outstanding water-related project focusing on topics of environmental, scientific, social or technological importance. The Stockholm International Water Institute administered the competition on behalf of the Stockholm Water Foundation. The international competition is sponsored globally by ITT Industries.