SA young scientists to compete in 2021 Indonesia World Innovative Science Fair

Scientific research by two local young scientists with a focus on the critical fields of environmental studies will be presented at the 2021 Virtual Indonesia World Innovative Science Fair (WISF).

The WISF is an international scientific competition on innovation. It was founded and is organised by the Indonesian Scientific Society, and will feature a virtual exhibition on 10 and 11 July; a judging session from 12 to 15 July and an awards ceremony on 17 July – which can be watched here.

Aditi Sookdhaw from Star College Durban, and Kyle Dawson from St Stithians Boys College were selected by a panel of academics and professionals following successful evaluations at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists Online Assessments in 2020, where they both received silver medals.

Sookdhaw found a viable method to make bioplastic from avocado seed extracts with the project, ‘Polymer Bioplastic’. Her methods involved vigorous and environmentally friendly testing, and the product compares favourably to other bioplastics in terms of cost, strength and durability.

“I have determined the best conditions to create a sustainable bio-polymer plastic, and I have created it. It has proven to have similar properties to plastic. With more modifications and testing, it can prove to be far better than a synthetic plastic,” said Sookdhaw.

Dawson’s research focused on macro-plastics. Dawson, who is passionate about conservation and well-versed in environmental issues, devised a prototype to trap plastics, which he tested in the Klein Jukskei River in Gauteng.

“The aim was to design an affordable device to reduce plastic waste flowing in an urban river system. The final design comprised of a catchment device, which consisted of an outer frame made with reinforced concrete and an inner cage made from steel, along with steel meshing to capture plastic,” said Dawson.

While wishing the learners well in the competition, Eskom General Manager of Risk and Sustainability, Andrew Etzinger said: “The areas of interest and the research conducted by these young scientists give us much hope for a cleaner and greener South Africa. It is impressive that Eskom Expo continues to develop young scientists who are able to compete globally with their ingenuity. As one of Eskom’s flagship programmes, the Eskom Expo initiative is of vital importance in providing a platform to researchers and innovators to be cultivated at grassroots-level while in school”.

Eskom Expo Executive Director, Parthy Chetty, said: “We wish these two learners good luck as they enter the international arena to compete among like-minded young scientists. The outstanding innovations demonstrated by these two learners should encourage other learners to expand their scientific horizons and participate in the various activities that Eskom Expo has to offer, and they can very soon represent South Africa, as these two learners are.”

Registration is currently open for participation in Eskom Expo’s 2021 virtual provincial science fairs. Learners in grades 4 to 12 can register and upload project documents, including an abstract, research plan and project report by clicking here. By clicking on the Resources tab on the website, learners can access valuable resources and easy-to-use templates that will assist them with their research projects.

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