Forbes reported that an Irish teenage boy has just won $50,000 for his project focusing on extracting micros-plastics from water.
Google launched the Google Science Fair in 2011 where students ages 13 through 18 can submit experiments and their results in front of a panel of judges. The winner receives $50,000. The competition is also sponsored by Lego, Virgin Galactic, National Geographic and Scientific American.
Fionn Ferreira, an 18-year-old from West Cork, Ireland won the competition for his methodology to remove microplastics from water.
Microplastics are defined as having a diameter of 5mm or less and are too small for filtering or screening during wastewater treatment. Microplastics are often included in soaps, shower gels, and facial scrubs for their ability to exfoliate the skin. Microplastics can also come off clothing during normal washing.
These microplastics then make their way into waterways and are virtually impossible to remove through filtration. Small fish are known to eat microplastics and as larger fish eat smaller fish these microplastics are concentrated into larger fish species that humans consume.