British students take gold at green Olympics

by Graeme Lamb. Published Wed 03 Jun 2009 11:43
British students Elif Tan and Aslihan Ogretici secured a gold medal in Turkey
British students Elif Tan and Aslihan Ogretici secured a gold medal in Turkey

The United Kingdom has claimed a gold medal at the first time of asking at the international ‘Environment Olympics’, which have just concluded in Istanbul, Turkey.

A project by Elif Tan and Aslihan Ogretici, two year-eleven girls at Coral College in Bradford, was chosen as one of nine recipients of a gold medal at the 17th International Environment Project Olympiad. Entitled ‘Sustainable soils with agriculture’s black gold: Humic acid’, the project aimed to show the value and importance of humic acid in helping to achieve sustainable, organic soils. Humic acids help to promote hormonal activity in plants, encouraging them to be self-sustaining, as well as promoting antioxidant production.

Aslihan and Elif believe that humic acid is an impending gold of the agriculture sector. They concluded: “Humic acid will help the plants grow in a complete organic way and abandon all the problems. Also, it will be an environment-friendly, consumer-safe product and a cost-effective plant protection that will significantly increase the efficiency of crop yields, thus reducing the losses in the economy. In fact, the hazardous pollutant lignite can twist to charm the environment and underline its name Black Gold (Humic acid).”

The International Environment Project Olympiad has been running since 1993 as a response to the United Nations conference of 1992, held in Rio de Janiero, and the role of the Olympiad is to encourage eco-innovation in the next generation. The event takes places every year in Istanbul around the time of World Environment Week. The Olympiad has grown annually from just eight countries competing at the inaugural event to students representing 85 countries participating this time round.

Mr Yusuf Buz, headteacher of the college where the two girls are students, said: “It’s undoubtedly true that science and technology have a lot to offer humanity, and can prepare a sustainable world for posterity as long as we, educationalists, inspire and encourage young minds to foster their interest in areas like science, technology and the environment.

“In this vein, I congratulate all of my staff who have put in tremendous efforts to inspire and lead these two young minds to join internationally recognised science competitions.”

This is not the first success for Aslihan Ogretici and Elif Tan this year, as their project was also the winner of a silver medal at the International Sustainable World (Energy, Engineering and Environment) Project Olympiad (I-SWEEEP), held in Houston, Texas in April 2009. The I-SWEEEP was in its second year, and had 450 projects entered from 60 countries.

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