South Africa is experiencing the worst droughts on record. Eight of the country’s nine provinces are in a state of disaster, with thousands of communities and millions of households facing water shortages. The agricultural union Agri SA has requested over $1 billion in government subsidies to help farmers through the crisis, but a cut-price solution could soon be available — from an unlikely source. Johannesburg schoolgirl Kiara Nirghin, 16, recently won the Google Science Fair’s Community Impact Award for the Middle East and Africa with her submission “No More Thirsty Crops.” She created a super absorbent polymer that could be used to combat the nation’s crippling drought crisis. Using orange peels and avocado skins, the precocious student created a super absorbent polymer (SAP) capable of storing reserves of water hundreds of times its own weight, forming reservoirs that would allow farmers to maintain their crops at minimal cost. The polymer has the added benefit of sustainability as it uses recycled and biodegradable waste products.
Source: Expresso Show