BOSTON – A 15-year old student from Nashua N.H. was a recently awarded a “President’s Environmental Youth Award” (PEYA), given jointly by the White House Council on Environmental Quality and EPA.
The Nashua student, Deepika Kurup, developed a green and sustainable method to purify water. Her project also increased the awareness of children and the general public in her community of how clean and safe water is an indispensable natural resource.
The winning project was a light-weight photocatalytic composite that harnesses solar energy for water purification. Ms. Kurup developed a simple, fast and cost effective methodology where a composite degrades organics in water, and rapidly inactivates bacteria in sunlight, visible light or in the dark. Her project also developed several different prototypes for real world applications. She has filed a patent and plans to deploy her invention in places around the world that are affected by water pollution.
"I am inspired to see such creative and promising work coming from one of New England’s younger citizens. The solutions to our environmental concerns need to come from all directions. Ms. Kurup’s innovative work, and that of the other PEYA winners, bodes well for a cleaner and healthier environment in the future,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office.
"I have been passionate about solving the global water crisis since I was in elementary school, as I was exposed to the water problem at a very early age,” commented Deepika Kurup. “I believe that environmental education is very important, and I am very honored to be the EPA Region 1 recipient of the 2014 President's Environmental Youth Award. The recognition ceremony held at the White House was an amazing experience, and I was delighted to introduce EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy!"
The President’s Environmental Youth Award program recognizes outstanding student leaders in environmental stewardship. In a ceremony at the White House, 60 students from nine states across the nation were honored for their contributions to environmental stewardship. At the same ceremony, 17 teachers were also recognized for outstanding efforts to implement environmental education in their schools and communities.