2010 St Andrews Prize for the Environment

Wednesday 12 May 2010

Bhaskar Sen Gupta

Credit: Alan Richardson, Pix-AR.

An innovative method of removing arsenic from groundwater without using chemicals, has won this year’s St Andrews Prize for the Environment. A team from Queen’s University, Belfast, addressed the alarming levels of arsenic contamination of water in West Bengal and established operations in six rural areas that now supply clean and arsenic free water to the local populations. This life changing technology is easy to install and operate and can be set up locally with readily available components.

At a ceremony in the University of St Andrews today, Bhaskar Sen Gupta was presented with the winning prize of $75,000.  Bhaskar said: “I am delighted with this win. It will enable us to transfer our knowledge to other groups who will be able to set up 25 more operations with around 25,000 people benefiting from the provision of safe drinking water.”

The St Andrews Prize is an environmental initiative by the University of St Andrews, which attracts scholars of international repute and carries out world-class teaching and research, and ConocoPhillips, one of the world’s largest integrated energy companies, with operations in more than 30 countries.

Sir Crispin Tickell, Chairman of the St Andrews Prize for the Environment Trustees, says: “With a record number of entries this year, the Prize is going from strength to strength. It is now in its 12th year and we are delighted that is has become so well established and continues to attract such a range of innovative projects from all over the world. We are looking for entrepreneurs on behalf of the environment – applicants able to champion original and innovative environmental ideas which are realistic and realisable and which take account of social and economic implications.”

This year’s runners-up, each presented with a cheque for $25,000 were:

  • Golden Lion Tamarin Association, dedicated to conservation of biodiversity in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest and ensuring the survival of the golden lion tamarin, a species of tiny red gold monkey, found only in the coastal region of Rio de Janeiro state.
  • Nuru Light, replacing carbon dioxide emitting kerosene in rural African households with an affordable, safe and clean lighting solution. The portable, on-demand lights reduce household spending on lighting by 95% and decrease respiratory illness and greenhouse gas emissions.

Full details on each of the finalists’ projects can be found at www.thestandrewsprize.com.

Dr Louise Richardson, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews says: “For centuries this university has educated young people motivated by a desire to improve the world around them. Today we are proud to be at the cutting edge of the field of sustainability and environmental studies and to support, through the St Andrews Prize, the current generation of creative thinkers designing solutions to today’s problems.”

“Recognising innovative ideas that will help protect our environment and improve the lives of our fellow citizens through the St Andrews Prize allows us to reward outstanding and environmentally conscious individuals and groups who help make the world a better place,” says Paul Warwick, President UK Upstream, ConocoPhillips.

The Prize has attracted entries on topics as diverse as sustainable development in the Amazon and Central American rainforests, urban re-generation, recycling, health and water issues and renewable energy, since its launch in 1998.

See the full list of previous winners and details about the Prize trustees on www.thestandrewsprize.com.

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