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Google Science Fair 2016: Meet the Community Impact Award finalists from Asia Pacific

Update 19 July: We're pleased to announce that Advay Ramesh has won the Community Impact Award, Asia for his mobile GPS that helps keep fishermen safe from invisible maritime boundary lines. You can read more about his project below. 

In addition, we're excited to share the Top 100 ideas selected by the judges, which are now in the running to become one of 16 Global Finalists later this year. These include submissions from students in Australia, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Taiwan. Check out the full list of the 100 Google Science Fair Regional Finalists here.


Editor's note: This year, we're celebrating 25 innovative Community Impact student projects across the globe that solve community and health resource challenges with science. While we're featuring the finalists from Asia Pacific below, you can read more about all the finalists' projects on the Google for Education blog.

Through the Google Science Fair, we've invited today's brightest young minds to answer an important question: how can they make the world better through science, math, and engineering? We received thousands of extremely impressive answers to this question from over 107 countries this year, and we can’t wait to announce the winners later in September.

Before that happens, though, we want to recognize the projects that aim to solve tough community challenges like providing clean drinking water, keeping people safe from natural disasters, and fighting droughts. This year, we'll be giving not just one, but five regional Community Impact Awards: one for each top project that focuses on fixing a difficult resource problem across Asia Pacific, North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East & Africa.

Please join us and our partners — LEGO Education, Scientific American, National Geographic and Virgin Galactic — in celebrating the Asia Pacific region Community Impact Award finalists below:

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Keeping Fishermen Safe at Sea

In Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, Advay (14) was dismayed to hear how often local Rameswaram fishermen were captured and arrested for long periods of time due to making a simple mistake: crossing an International Maritime Boundary line it was impossible for them to see. Given the high penalties and impact to fishermen's livelihoods, Advay wanted to create an easy-to-use GPS system to send alerts when sailors approached maritime borders or when better fishing was available in another area. The system can also alert fishermen to dangerous weather conditions, so they can steer clear. Advay's invention is designed to work on any type of handheld mobile device, and he hopes that with it more local fishermen can avoid financial hardship and stay safe at sea.



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Congo-ing Nuts: Making Dirty Water Clean

Like others in their local community in Singapore Tushmitha (15), Nagajothi (15), and Yan (15) come from diverse backgrounds. All too aware of how difficult it can be for people across India and Southeast Asia to access clean water, the trio wanted to create a safe, economical water filter. The students realized that while textile mills are a significant source of revenue for new economies in many developing countries in the region, they can also leave behind water contaminated with chemical dyes used to color fabrics. For their project, the group created a filter using the porous walnut shell to extract Congo Red dye, a common fabric dye, from polluted water. To their delight, their filter worked, proving that this biodegradable and common agricultural waste product just might be the perfect material to make local water safe to drink.
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Avoiding Landfills with Shresto Pads

Growing up in Pakistan and Bangladesh opened Saliha's (15) eyes to the sheer volume of waste being generated by these densely populated areas, leading her community to host some of the world's largest landfills. Determined to find a solution to cut down on non-biodegradable waste, Saliha turned to a common personal hygiene item: sanitary pads. With the local economy booming with the sanitary industry, she knew it was only a matter of time before landfills would become overwhelmed with these products, which contain plastics and harmful chemicals. So, Saliha created a safer, chemical-free option made entirely of plant materials that will degrade in just two year's time. She hopes her new "Shresto" pads will help more local women feel comfortable while also making the environment safer for everyone.
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The Next-Gen Greenhouse

Airin (17) hails from Kerala, India, a region known for beautiful tropical beaches and agriculture, specifically tea, coffee, and spice plantations. Given his community's dependence on farming, Airin was intrigued by a question: could he create a better greenhouse that could produce extra crops sustainably and remain safe for the environment? For his project, he created a greenhouse that recycles 100% of the carbon dioxide it produces. His design proved successful, quadrupling crop yields while also using less power, water, and money. Airin believes his greenhouse can help Kerala farmers increase their harvests and income while sparing the local air from pollution.

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Forget Those Frozen Pipes!

In Shanghai, where temperatures can drop severely in winter due to Siberian winds, pipes can often freeze and burst, disrupting the community's access to water for hours or days at a time. While identifying a frozen pipe before it bursts is one path to solving the problem, Ying (17) realized it was more important to identify a pipe that was about to freeze and adjust water temperatures before thet become critical. She set herself the task of creating an engineering solution to monitor local pipes that can automatically send electrical currents to adjust water temperatures as needed. Ying hopes her design will help her local community avoid plumbing disasters during the coldest time of year.

Tune into the Google Science Fair website on July 18th to find out which five young scientists will win their regional Community Impact Award! With the generous support of our partners, winners will receive mentors and scholarships to help them further their education and inspiring projects.

To keep an eye on the competition, follow along on Google+ and Twitter