Girl-Powered Solutions to Save the World

2 June 2011 20:59 WIB

Ega Sribuarti, a high school student in Bogor, says it bothers her when she sees her friends charging their cellphones in class.

“I think it’s almost a form of corruption. In a way, they’re stealing energy,” the 15-year-old said.

So, when Ega was selected by her school to take part in a science competition for high school girls to solve the problem of electronic waste, she and two of her friends, Elsa Afiani and Arum Aswiniarti, came up with the idea of making a solar-powered phone charger.

The team said it took them a week to build the charger, which was constructed using recycled materials they found in their neighborhood — specifically, 30 secondhand aluminum transistors that they got from a repair shop.

For their efforts, the team from public high school SMAN 1 Citeureup received first prize on Wednesday at the L’Oreal Girls Science Camp, organized by cosmetics company L’Oreal Indonesia in partnership with UN science body Unesco.

Now in its seventh year, the camp is part of L’Oreal’s “For Women in Science” program, which aims to encourage young women to pursue scientific research through competitions and scholarships.

The theme for this year’s camp was “Let’s Save the World from Electronic Waste.” The theme was chosen to highlight the growing problem of e-waste. It is estimated that 20 million to 50 million tons of computers, cellphones and other electronics are thrown away each year.