Farooq Naikoo comes out of the hall smiling as the valedictory function of the 27th National Children’s Science Congress draws to a close in Thiruvananthapuram. Asiya Ashraf, whose project he has just talked about, has appeared in the list of the 19 promising projects chosen from among 1200 student delegates who attended the Congress from around the world.
Asiya is one of the 16 delegates who came from Jammu and Kashmir, and Farooq is one of the four coordinators who accompanied them.
Eight ‘child scientists’ from Jammu and eight from Kashmir attended event.
Javed Ahmad Bhat, who was the escort teacher of the students from Kashmir had helped Asiya, a Class X student, with her project: ‘Get rid of Wazwan plastic by using Samawar Kiln’.
“Samawar is a traditional vessel we use to prepare Kashmiri tea. It’s got an inner chamber and an outer chamber. Asiya constructed a similar Samawar-like structure to dispose the plastic waste which comes in plenty during wedding ceremonies. It is usually disposed in the open or in the water bodies, both of which are not ideal to the environment. For the project, we put plastic waste in the outer chamber of the vessel. The inner chamber contains burning charcoal that will melt down the waste materials, which become a form of liquid that can be drained out through openings in the vessel. The gas that’s emitted is passed through a water bag and changed to liquid form. This liquid is then used to create tiles,” Javed explains.
He also mentions other projects that children from Kashmir have brought to the venue: “One is of a Class VI student who converted walnut covering into printing ink. Another developed an alarm for electric blankets which we use in Kashmir during winter – it is important to switch it off when it crosses a certain temperature. The alarm alerts the user to do that.”
Javed admits that the restrictions in place in Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 have given them a tough time. “After August 4… we suffered a lot in the first month. No one went out. We couldn’t reach out to our students. After one-and-a half months we relaxed and then focused on these projects.”
Speaking of the work done by the children who came from Jammu, Kuldeep Singh, state academy coordinator from Jammu, says, “There was a project to create sanitary napkins using biodegradable materials like sheets, and another project to extend the shelf life of perishable food materials by using thymol."