"A Girl From The Corn Fields" - SUCCESS STORY #25

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Even though we are living in 21st century, billions of people still don’t have access to clean water. It’s a sore problem of nowadays world but if you ever thought about it? Luckily, some people are always trying to solve this problem, even the smallest ones — a girl, whose name is Lalita Prasida Sripada Srisai, being just 11 years old came up with an idea on how to create a sustainable, accessible, and cost-effective way to purify water even in rural areas.

Lalita has always been curious and well-minded girl, so it is no wonder that one day, while wondering around her home country in India, she noticed the huge amount of cobs remained to bake under the sun after harvesting. As having a sensible mind, started to wonder what could be done with these useless corn cobs, lying behind on the sidelines, even unwanted by animals.

So, as a result of such wonderings, she started corn-hacking. A girl once picked some shriveled cobs from the road and placed them in a bowl of dirty water on the table. Guess what we will have combined useless corn cobs and dirty water? A water purifier! That’s what came to little innovator Lalita’s mind. Then she started collecting corn cobs from local farmers, washing them thoroughly with water, and drying them in the sun. At the age of 11, she realized that she was doing something serious and useful. Further, she began construction on a filtration system that could use the cobs. In the same way as filter takes foreign particles out of water, Lalita’s invention uses corn cobs to purify the unclean drinking water. All the magic is that corn cobs are working the same way as sponge. Combined into several levels and different shapes, they can even absorb gasoline, oil, soak up color dyes, chemical toxins. After several filtration tests in Lalita’s school’s chemistry lab, she found that her system removed about 80% contaminates, which is quite high.

As Lolita claims, Further chemical and physicals examinations are necessary before she can market it to farmers. She hopes that the tool will serve as a cost-effective solution for cleaning ground water and industrial tanks on their property. This girl was more than overjoyed when farmers, who gave her their used corn cobs, started to give her positive feedbacks: “They were really amazed that such a thing could even happen!” — says Lalita.

By the age of 14, Lalita’s appearance at the Google Science Fair and winning Community Impact Award is a huge step towards the further attention to this invention. It is believed, that if produced in large scale, the water purifier would be a great help for the poor living in rural areas of south Odisha, where there is still no access to pure water. Lalita hopes that the tool will serve as a cost-effective solution for cleaning ground water and industrial tanks on their property.