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Green crusaders back from London

- Four city students visited the UK for winning innovation challenge

Setting up a vermicompost unit to generate fertiliser from organic waste has fetched four students of Motilal Nehru Public School in Jamshedpur a trip to London.

Twelfth graders Shubham Sharma, Surbhi Kumari, Prerna Kumari and Syed Faizal Raza, accompanied by their teacher Ghazala Khan, were invited to London for winning the IIMT-Oxford Brookes University Innovation Challenge 2013. The weeklong tour was the first prize of the competition, the results of which were announced in December 2013.

During their stay from June 29 to July 4, the students got the chance to present a Powerpoint presentation of their eco project at the UK varsity.

Among the 100-odd projects from across the country, Motilal Nehru Public School bagged the first position because of its simplicity and cost effectiveness. The school cleared three rounds before to be on the top.

“As the first step, we had to write an abstract of our idea to apply. More than 100 schools from across the country had applied. Based on that abstract, 51 schools were shortlisted. Then we again had to write an essay on the chosen topic to be among the top 11 who got an opportunity to give a Powerpoint presentation in New Delhi in December last year,” said Surbhi Kumari.

Asked how she felt, Surbhi said, “It’s amazing to win with the simplest idea.”

Surbhi and her friends had tied up with two Sakchi-based restaurants — Hotel Karnail and White Rose — to gather organic waste and converted it into manure with the help of earthworms.

The school will start producing the manure within a month and will sell it to a local nursery, parents and teachers.

Principal Ashu Tiwary thanked Shantanu Chakrabarti, a former Tata Steel employee and a visiting faculty in various engineering colleges, and social worker and cartoonist Souvick Saha for brushing up their idea.

“The project would not have been successful without Shantanu Chakrabarti and Souvick Saha. The best thing about the competition is that the panel of jury gave their feedback in every step so that the students knew what their drawbacks were,” Tiwary added.

The competition was instituted in 2010 by IIMT-Gurgaon and Oxford Brookes University, UK, to create a platform for expression of innovative ideas by young Indian students. The idea is to address the problems faced by the country and bring out a change at the grassroots with a sustainable solution.

Among the other innovative projects were censored traffic lights that turn green automatically for an ambulance and the musical dustbins that start singing whenever it senses some waste nearby.