LONDON – Three Okinawa high school students on Tuesday became the first Japanese to win the Stockholm Water Prize.
The students from Miyako Agricultural High School on Miyako Island received the prize for the junior section from Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden for developing organic fertilizer that does not pollute groundwater, the prize organizer said in a release.
The island primarily relies on groundwater for drinking water, meaning that finding a substitute for chemical fertilizers is significant.
“We are very glad that what our predecessors worked on for eight years has finally been internationally recognized,” Tsutomu Kawahira, 18, leader of the group, said in Stockholm.
Various students participated in the multiyear project. The two other prizewinners are Daisuke Sunakawa and Kaori Yamaguchi.
The Stockholm International Water Institute began the junior section of the Stockholm Water Prize in 1997. The prize, the adult section of which was created in 1990, is a global award under the patronage of King Carl XVI Gustaf.
People up to 20 years old are eligible for the junior section. The prize for juniors, given annually, is $5,000 in cash. Groups from 26 countries, including Israel, Australia and Vietnam, participated this year.