The invention of a 16-year-old South African to fight drought

Boubacar Diallo

A high school girl developed an ecological system made of orange peel and avocado skins. This kind of sponge absorbs water, stores it and returns it to dry soil. Southern Africa is currently going through a very severe drought. His invention could be very useful for farmers who are suffering from the effects of El Nino.

Her name is Kiara Nirghin and she is one of the finalists in the 2016 Google Science Fair contest. A scientific competition open to young people from 13 to 18 years old. If this high school girl likes the web giant so much, it is because her idea could provide an answer to the problems posed by the drought. This young girl has in fact created a new ultra-absorbent material, using orange peel and avocado skin. Once soaked in water, this polymer can store several hundred times its weight in water. In fact, it acts as a reservoir that prevents evaporation and keeps water much longer in the soil in order to hydrate crops durably during dry periods.

A very modest cost

This invention does not use any chemical component, only recycled organic waste. The young high school student nicknamed her idea “no more thirsty harvest”. Which earned him being selected by Google, but this may only be a first step. The young Kiara Nirghin who came up with the idea of ​​this anti-drought polymer won a prize in the Google Science Fair competition, for the Africa and Middle East region. She is now one of sixteen finalists who will have the chance to travel to Google premises in California. Kiara will be accompanied by a mentor who will work with her to develop her invention with probably life-size tests very soon.
If these tests are successful, she could win the grand prize in this Google contest and be awarded an envelope of $ 50,000 to continue her studies on a large scale. And we can clearly see the impact and the importance that this invention could have on the African continent.

A timely invention

Southern Africa is going through a very severe drought, the worst in 30 years, and many farmers are on the verge of bankruptcy. Humanitarian organizations estimate that more than $ 1 billion in emergency aid is needed to help the seven countries most affected by the drought in southern Africa. This drought is caused by the El Nino weather phenomenon but the phenomenon is more and more recurrent and will undoubtedly be more and more severe in the region. If this invention is tested and approved, it could offer an effective and inexpensive solution to many farmers on the continent.

Source: la-secheresse-19-08-2016-06

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