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Young scientists prepare for climate change

06:28 PM October 21, 2013

PIZARRO (center, in orange shirt and black jacket) with delegates to the Hyundai New Thinkers Summit who submitted project proposals to protect the environment and help local communities as well

The best 20 science project proposals from some of the country’s brightest young minds are moving to the next phase of the first Hyundai New Thinkers Summit on April 22-28 next year.

Teams from the top 20 schools each received P10,000 as seed fund for the science projects. They have to work on their proposals from Nov. 1 to Feb. 28.

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The 20 projects were chosen from submissions by students of 39 high schools in Metro Manila and nearby provinces during the first phase of the competition at Manila Ocean Park.

Angat, Bulacan, and Subic, Zambales, will host the second phase.

Of the top 20 proposals, 10 came from schools in Metro Manila and another 10 from the provinces.

Winning Metro Manila schools were Philippine Science High School-Main Campus and Santa Lucia High School (Quezon City), Taguig National High School (Taguig City), Kasarinlan High School (Caloocan City), Rizal High School (Pasig City), Sisters of Mary School (Silang, Cavite), Ramon Magsaysay High School and Manila Science High School (Manila),  Valenzuela City Science High School (Valenzuela City) and Pateros National High School (Pateros).

The  provincial schools were Bataan National High School (Balanga City), Emilio C. Bernabe High School (Bagac), Mariveles National High School-Poblacion (Mariveles) and Morong National High School (Morong), all in Bataan; Olongapo City National High School (Zambales); Marcelo H. del Pilar National High School (Malolos) and Maronquillo National High School (San Rafael) in Bulacan; Philippine Science High School-Central Luzon and Claro M. Recto Information and Communication Technology High School, both in Angeles City, Pampanga, and Cavite National High School (Cavite City, Cavite).

Helping the community

Each school was represented by two third-year students and an adviser. With the theme “Innovation and Climate Change,” they came up with project proposals that aimed not only to protect the environment but to help local communities as well.

During the three-day summit, participants improved on their proposals before presenting them to a panel of judges from the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (MSI), UP National Institute of Geological Sciences (NIGS), Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute and Hyundai Asia Resources  Inc. (Hari) Foundation.

“The challenge [now] is to make these ideas work,” said Renato Pizarro, Hari Foundation senior vice president for corporate planning and communications.

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Elijah Miguel Flores and John Rafael Arda of  Manila Science High School submitted a project on the use of bamboo leaves as a filter to support catalytic converters in automobiles.

“The exhaust [gas] that passes through the catalytic converter will have to pass again through the filter that we’re going to create [out of bamboo leaves] so that when it comes out, it will be cleaner,”  Arda said.

The two chose the project when they learned that the Department of Education had directed schools to plant bamboo to serve as “disposal bins” for leftover chemicals from science experiments. They later learned that the grass could survive even when exposed to toxic chemicals.

Olongapo City students Charmille Dizon and Marvin Jaranilla proposed the Community Assistance Responding Enthusiast (Care). It  recycles paper and plastic donated by students into file boxes and folders.

Devastation provides idea

DAVID of UPNIGS (left); Arda and Flores of Manila ScienceHigh School propose the use of bamboo leaves as a filter (above);Dizon and Jaranilla of Olongapo City NationalHigh School offer a new recycling scheme (right)

They got their idea after their city was devastated by widespread floods caused by monsoon rains.

“We saw many papers that got wet… so instead of just throwing them away, we decided to recycle them,” Dizon said.

Apart from the competition, the summit also featured a youth forum and plenary sessions on climate change.

The UP MSI sponsored talks on the science of climate change and its impact on oceans. UP NIGS discussed the impact of climate change on biodiversity and hydrogeology.

“A lot of our sectors, agriculture, business, even the education sector, will all be affected by climate change,” said geology professor Carlos Primo David. “But … [what] will be most affected is the water resource, our ability to provide water for agriculture and domestic use.”

David hoped that events like the summit would  provide “enough scientific knowledge” to help people adapt to climate change and make students aware that they have “a role to play [even] at their young age.”

Dizon said the summit was an “eye-opener,” while Jaranilla realized his generation was already experiencing the effects of climate change.

“Our generation is the one affected most by climate change. If we won’t mitigate its effects, the succeeding generation will also be affected,” Jaranilla said.

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TAGS: Climate Change, Hyundai new thinkers summit, Learning, science projects
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