Connector July 2023

CONNECTOR.AE 56 CONNECTOR.AE 57 Lifestyle Lifestyle in it and later discovered that a lot of these products use microplastics to exfoliate the skin. While using these products with microplastics, the beads end up in the water system, and lead to detrimental effects on marine life as well as water sources, where it ends up in water bodies and ingested by fish. Sinchana Hiremath said, “I have a habit of getting face washes and scrubs. I am a big fan of personal care products. One day, I noticed that these products contain tiny, tiny little particles which we use, and that just hit me, ‘what are these particles?’ So then after doing research, I found out that these particles were microplastics, which means we are polluting the earth on a daily basis. So that is where I thought that if I did not know this, most of the people around the world also do not know this.” Wanting to make a difference and encourage other people to stop using products that contain microplastics, Sinchana Hiremath decided to raise an awareness programme in her school to use alternative and natural sources like coffee powder, jojoba and apricot kernels. Sinchana Hiremath added, “I started the awareness program so that I get most of the people around the world and most of the youth to find out about the problem, so that we could stop the use of microbeads and also come up with eco-friendly products.” For the senior category, students participating had to come up as well as implement the idea. Sinchana Hiremath created an app that detects plastic in products by scanning the label. Sinchana Hiremath said, “I came up with a series of workshops and webinars to educate the people of my school and see how much of an impact it would be, and how much of an impact I could create. So that when this program was taken worldwide, I could estimate how much of a worldwide impact it could create.” As the winner of the senior category, Sinchana Hiremath will represent the UAE at the international Stockholm Junior Water Prize Competition, where after a series of interviews, the winner will receive Dhs 55,095 ($15,000) and a trophy awarded by Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden. Ideas from previous competitions have since been implemented globally to tackle the water crisis around the world. On finding out that she won the challenge, Sinchana said, “I was so shocked when I won this challenge. It was crazy, what a moment. I felt so happy and honoured to actually be the winner of the senior category, and I cannot wait to represent UAE at the Stockholm New World Prize competition in Sweden.” Aliya Nujum Navaz has been a member of EEG for several years, and there found out about the challenge. She came up with the idea to use drones powered by artificial intelligence (AI) to reduce the amount of water consumed by firefighters to put out fires, after hearing about the fire that was caused by an electrical short circuit in 2016 at Address Downtown Dubai. The idea saw drones being used to detect where the fire originates from, and then disperse water, to efficiently combat fires. Aliya Nujum Navaz said, “I have been a member of EEG for several years. When I saw the competition, I wanted to try something new. My idea occurred from the Address Hotel fire in 2016. It was a huge fire in which after 15 minutes, the water sprinkler ran out of water to suppress the fire. While thinking about an idea, they were not efficiently able to compress the fire, and that is when I thought about this idea of using drones and AI.” Onwinning the challenge, AliyaNujumNavaz further added, “It was very unexpected. I knew one of the finalists and we both were Hamdan Award winners. I knew her capacity and I was scared for myself. My heart was beating at the moment when they were announcing and I was absolutely surprised. I also had my schoolmates share the experience later on, and it was Additionally, Sinchana Hiremath plans on expanding her app saying, “In the future, I would like to implement this project all around the world in every school. I would also like to get more people educated and install my app in supermarkets in the personal care section, so that people can get educated about microplastics and also scan for the microbeads present in the products. In this way, they can decide whether it is worth it to buy a product.” Aliya Nujum Navaz, aged 13 years old from Al Ain Juniors School in Abu Dhabi won the challenge in the middle category for 12 to 14 years olds, for targeting water scarcity. For the middle category, students participating had to come up with an idea around combatting the water crisis, and although 70% of the Earth is made up of water, a lot of water bodies end up polluted and can quickly get depleted, if not preserved.