Reed Elsevier Announces 2014 Environmental Challenge Winners

Reed Elsevier Announces 2014 Environmental Challenge Winners

Prizes awarded for innovative safe water and sanitation solutions in the developing world
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Reed Elsevier announces 2014 Environmental Challenge winners

Multimedia from this Release

Tuesday, September 2, 2014 - 10:30am

CAMPAIGN: Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge

CONTENT: Press Release

Stockholm, September 2, 2014 /3BL Media/ – Reed Elsevier, a world-leading provider of professional information solutions, today announced the winners of the 2014 Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge, which supports innovative solutions to improve sustainable access to safe water and sanitation. The $50,000 first and $25,000 second prize winners were announced during World Water Week in Stockholm, a unique annual event bringing together water researchers, policymakers, journalists, companies and non-profits to address the key water challenges of the 21st century.

In addition, a WASH Alliance prize of $15,000 will be given to the third place winner. The WASH Alliance is a consortium of six Dutch NGOs promoting hygienic use of sustainable water and sanitation. Each of the winners will also receive up to $2,500 for relevant training and professional development.  The winning project teams will also get free access for one year to ScienceDirect, Elsevier’s database of full text, scientific information, including almost 230,000 articles since 2000 in Environmental Sciences.

Youngsuk ‘YS’ Chi, Director of Corporate Affairs, Reed Elsevier, said: “We are proud  to sponsor three more projects this year with the potential to create a large impact in the water and sanitation fields and to improve conditions for those in need. The Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge supports our efforts to promote knowledge and debate on water and sanitation issues through our products and services.”

The $50,000 first prize winner is Sustainable Sanitation Design. They have developed a unisex urinal – a sanitation service product serving both urban users and farmers through the collection of safe and cheap organic fertilisers. Prize money will allow production of the first 10,000 units for residents of urban slums in Kampala, Uganda. The income created through the value chain will be sufficient to keep the project moving and be replicated in different parts of the world.

The $25,000 second prize winner is Ecofiltro S.A, a private social enterprise company. They are looking to develop and commercialise a new type of household water treatment and safe storage system using a ceramic disk filter—a simple, effective and affordable treatment. Their short-term goal (within three years) is to “reach scale” in Guatemala by supplying 1m people with the filter, especially in low-income Mayan Indian communities which suffer the most from contaminated water supplies. In the long term, the goal is to expand to all of Central America, partnering with local distributors and NGOs.

The WASH Alliance prize of $15,000 was awarded to the Stanford Program on Water, Health and Development. Researchers have designed a community-scale, fully automated chlorine dosing device for shared water points in low-income urban settings that requires neither reliable electricity nor 24/7 supply to function consistently. Support from the Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge will allow them to be able to construct, install and maintain 150 devices serving 10,000 people in Dhaka, Bangladesh. These installation sites will be used to evaluate health impacts and test the viability of different potential business models.

A shortlist of four candidates was chosen from nearly 150 original applicants; the winning projects are replicable, scalable, sustainable and innovative, emphasising solutions with practical applicability. The Challenge’s distinguished panel of judges included Dr Sarah Bell, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Engineering, University College London; Professor Mark van Loosdrecht, Department of Biochemical Engineering, Delft University of Technology; Dr Prasad Modak, Executive President of India’s Environmental Management Centre; Professor Gang Pan, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences; and Engineer Hanny Maas, Programme Manager of the Dutch WASH Alliance. The winning projects will be featured in Elsevier journal Water Research.

The Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge was launched in 2011 to contribute to the Water for Life Decade, established by the UN General Assembly between 2005 and 2015, in order to reduce by half the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.

To learn more, please visit the Environmental Challenge website. You can see videos of previous winning projects here, and details on Reed Elsevier’s corporate responsibility agenda here.

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Notes for editors

Further information on the 2014 winners

Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge first-place winner – Sustainable Sanitation Design
Unisex Urinal: value-creating sanitation in Bwaise (Kampala), Uganda

Over 1bn people live in urban slums, without access to sanitation facilities. SuSan Design’s unisex urinal concept was developed through an inclusive design process with women in a Kampala slum. It provides women with a low cost urinal in their home that gives them privacy, collects valuable nutrients and reduces local pollution. It plays a pivotal role in reducing volumes in toilets and facilitates nutrient recovery.

Using funding from Reed Elsevier, the project will provide unisex urinals to 10,000 households, serving around 50,000 out of the 430,000 people living in slum settlements of Kampala. The urine will be collected and sold as natural fertiliser for local agriculture and/or to the flower production companies just outside Kampala.

Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge second place winner – Ecofiltro S.A
Development of the Ceramic Disk Filter for Household Water Treatment in Guatemala

A systematic review of water, sanitation and hygiene interventions commissioned by the World Bank suggests that improving household drinking water quality at the point of use is more effective in reducing diarrheal disease risks (by 30 to 40 percent) than improvements at the source.  Ecofiltro, S.A. is one of the most successful ceramic filter factories in the developing world with a recognised brand name and successful track record in the manufacture, marketing and sales of ceramic pot filters to both urban and rural customers in Guatemala

Reed Elsevier funds will be used to develop and commercialise a new type of household water treatment and safe storage system called the ceramic disk filter—a practical, effective and affordable technology that provides a “protective” level of treatment performance for protozoa, bacteria and virus removal.

WASH Alliance prize winner – Stanford Program on Water, Health & Development
Lotus Water: community-scale automated chlorination for drinking water in urban slums

More than 90 percent of households in the slums of Dhaka are served through public taps or handpumps connected to the municipal water system, commonly shared by 10-100 households. The Stanford team conducted a survey of shared water points in Dhaka slums and found that 98 percent are contaminated. Their product offers reliable chlorine dosing while remaining low-cost; it can be easily integrated into existing handpumps, and is designed to dose water accurately even under variable and intermittent flow.

Direct beneficiaries of the next phase (installation of 150 devices) of the Lotus Water project will include approximately 2,000 households in Dhaka, or 10,000 people, who will access disinfected water as a result of using the technology. These sites will also allow the team to carry out health impact and business model evaluations.

About Reed Elsevier
Reed Elsevier Group plc is a world leading provider of professional information solutions. The group employs approximately 28,000 people. Reed Elsevier Group PLC is owned equally by two parent companies, Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV; the combined market capitalisation of the two parent companies is approximately £19bn/€23bn. Its shares are traded on the London, Amsterdam and New York Stock Exchanges using the following ticker symbols: London: REL; Amsterdam: REN; New York: RUK and ENL.

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CATEGORY: Environment