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Miyako students win international prize

Date Posted: 2004-08-27

A trio of Okinawa high school students captured gold of their own this week, becoming the first Japanese to ever win the Stockholm Water Prize.

The students from Miyako Agricultural High School on Miyako Island won the award for developing organic fertilizer that does not pollute groundwater. Organizers said the junior section victors were presented an award from Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden. The island relies heavily on groundwater for drinking water, which makes finding a substitute for chemical fertilizers very significant.

"We are very glad that what our predecessors worked on for eight years has finally been internationally recognized," the 18-year-old team leader, Tsutomu Kawahira, said in Stockholm.

A number of 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, following the concepts of the the adult section 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. Nominees this year came from 26 countries, including Israel, Australia and Vietnam.

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