As a boy of 10 years, Salish Kumar loved to watch birds that used to visit the paddy fields in his neighbourhood.
Over a period of time, the number of birds that came to his village grew less and Salish wanted to know why. It took him five years to find out the exact reason for the absence of birds in his village. During his investigation, he found something even more interesting; why some epidemics occurred in his village.
Now a Plus One student at Government Mappila Higher Secondary School in Koyilandy, Kozhikode, Salish has set up the findings of his five-year long research at the ongoing State School Science Fair. His work is a breather, standing wide apart from the research projects done just for the sake of grace marks.
Though his intention was only to find out why the birds were missing, Salish’s research led him to find out why the water in most of the wells in his village was not suited for drinking and why the water bodies were dangerously polluted.
Now, he has solutions for all these problems. “Restart the paddy cultivation that was discontinued some time in the last decade and most of these problems will vanish,” he told The Hindu . Salish had sought the help of Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (CWRDM), Kunnamangalam, to detect the oxygen content in the water in the local paddy fields that gave him further insight on the presence of E-Coli bacteria in it. Salish has presented his findings to the Chengottukavu Grama Panchayat as well.
While researching, Salish Kumar never dreamt of presenting his findings in a platform such as the School Science Fair, nor did Lapiz Lazuli C.V., whose hobby of collecting small organisms as a child led to his research project on their reproduction mechanisms.
A Class VII student of Government Ganapath UP School at Ramanattukara in Kozhikode, Lapiz has in his collection a wide variety of butterflies, spiders, chameleon, fishes, doodlebug (called Kuzhiyana in Malayalam) and various moths. He has also managed to collect the pupae and eggs of these organisms and preserved them alive in separate containers so as to watch their evolution. His prized keepsakes include eggs of a particular variety of fish in three stages. Lapiz has studied closely the behavioural patterns of all these organisms and is in fact an encyclopaedia on them.
Another notable research project at the science fair was from Sneha Manoharan and Varsha M.V., two Plus Two students of AKGS Girls Higher Secondary School at Peralassery in Kannur. Their ‘Biological Digestion Mechanism for Kitchen Waste Management’ is about how kitchen waste could be converted into bio-fertilizer that researchers could use to grow plants. Some such plants were shown at the fair.
The waste management scheme is low-cost, involving minimal manual labour and no unpleasant smell while tackling waste. It could be used in flats and houses located in small plots.