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Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge winners announced

London, 1 June 2011 The Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge aims to encourage innovative ideas that improve access to safe and sustainable water supply for communities where it is presently at risk.

The winner of the $50,000 first prize, announced today, is Tagore-SenGupta Foundation. Their project involves installation of twelve community-level arsenic removal units in remote villages and schools in Cambodia where arsenic groundwater contamination is rife. The technology, which has been tested in India, will provide local employment in the construction and installation of units and in the caretaking phase of the project. The arsenic removal units use regenerable adsorbents and do not require electricity or costly maintenance.

Second prize of $25,000 is awarded to Jenna Forsyth, whose project focuses on low-resource chlorine generation to address unsafe drinking water and poor sanitation in the Nyanza province of western Kenya, one of the poorest regions in the country. In partnership with the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health, the school-based pilot involves a prototype chlorine generator using salt, water, and battery power to generate chlorine for water disinfection. On a single battery charge, the device can run for 200 cycles, generating 40,000 litres of clean water.

The Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge was open between July and October 2010. Registrants were provided access to relevant Reed Elsevier products and services. Four short-listed candidates were also given Reed Elsevier product access to help them refine their proposals before making presentations to the jury in May.

The jury consisted of Professor Andrs Szllsi-Nagy, Rector, UNESCO-IHE; Dr. Prasad Modak, Executive President, of India's Environmental Management Centre; Professor Gang Pan, Research Center for Eco-environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences; Dr. Jean Rogers, Leader of Arup's Americas Sustainability Practice; and Robyn Stein, Director of ENS in South Africa.

Projects were evaluated on the degree to which they were replicable, scalable, sustainable, and innovative; emphasised solutions with practical applicability; addressed non-discrimination/equality of access from a scientific, legal or other basis; and involved a range of stakeholders and local communities.

According to the World Health Organisation, lack of water to meet daily needs is a reality for one in three people around the world. Poor access to safe water contributes to health crises in many developing countries, and increasingly leads to violent conflict. The Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge contributes to the Water for Life Decade, established by the UN General Assembly, running between 2005 and 2015, in support of the Millennium Development Goal to reduce by half the number of people without access to safe drinking water and to stop unsustainable exploitation of water resources.

Dr. Mrcia Balisciano, Director of Corporate Responsibility at Reed Elsevier said, "The two winning projects fulfill the aim of the Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge to provide clean and sustainable water to communities in need and, because they are scalable, the benefits can be widely dispersed. The Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge is a tangible example of how we aim to use our networks and expertise to facilitate the exchange and dissemination of information to benefit society."

The two winning projects will be featured in the Reed Elsevier journal Water Research, and will be celebrated at a reception on 24 August in Stockholm, Sweden during World Water Week. To find out more visit the Environmental Challenge website or email


Contact: Sarah Dyson

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