Mar 03, 2016 News
– as Region Four Education Dept. commences 2016 Science Fair
Students of the Diamond Secondary School are convinced that they have an ideal solution
that is less intrusive than fogging to help combat the Zika Virus. And they are prepared to share their knowledge, which was tried and tested in their school’s laboratory, with the Ministry of Public Health.
The solution, which came in two forms, was proudly displayed when the Ministry of Education’s Department of Education spearheaded its Regional Science Fair for this year. The Fair, held at the Diamond Secondary School has the theme “Enhancing traditional technologies to sustain modern societies through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
Describing herself as a proud student representing the Diamond Secondary School yesterday, Anjalie Singh, disclosed that a decision to find measures to tackle the Zika virus was a rather intimate one since the Diamond area has a “serious” mosquito problem.
The project in which Singh participated is one which focused on tackling the virus in an office environment. And the tactic embraced is one that enables the office to be free of mosquitoes and by extension the Zika virus. The miniature office on display was one surrounded by glass walls on which a chemical Bacillus Thuringiensis Israelensis (BIT) was sprayed.
Her explanation in essence emphasised that instead of the use of chemicals such as Fendona, which is used by the Ministry of Public Health, to undertake indoor residual spraying, BIT which is a group of bacteria would be more environmentally friendly since it is not harmful
to humans, animals and pretty much everything except mosquitoes.
According to Singh this was ascertained based on extensive research she and her colleagues conducted of forging ahead with the project. “We did a lot of research and we tested it too in our laboratory right here…Once they got into contact with the glass (sprayed with BIT) the mosquitoes died,” said Singh as she disclosed that based on tests conducted the mosquitoes were effectively warded off for about one week.
Singh’s colleague, Shivanie Baljit, asserted, too, that spraying the glass wall would not only prevent entry of the mosquitoes but the vapours of the BIT would help to eradicate those mosquitoes already present in the environment.
“We are doing this to help reduce mosquitoes because we understand that there is no way to prevent the Zika virus and there is no cure, by doing this it will help to reduce the prevalence…,” said an outspoken Baljit yesterday.
But theirs was not the only project to emphasise measures to stave off the Zika virus. Yet another project submitted by the Diamond Secondary School, showed an even more interesting way of utilising BIT or temefos (used to treat water infested with disease carrying
insects including mosquitoes) as a means of defence against the virus.
With a simple plastic container, preferably black, filled with the chemical and a contraption made of Styrofoam with pipes attached and secured by a piece of dark cloth, mosquitoes could be easily drawn and once they come in contact with the chemical they can spread the chemical to others.
This particular mechanism which can work ideally outdoors, student, Homalyah Narine, said, would help to kill mosquito larvae since the adult mosquito would essentially transmit the mosquitoes to them.
The students are convinced that their project is already helping to make a dent in the mosquito population, at least in their school environment.
Also on display yesterday were innovative projects from schools throughout, the Region Four Education District, including schools on the East Bank of Demerara and the East Coast of Demerara.
Among the exhibits yesterday was a greenhouse made of plastic bottles and according to Teacher, Kathleen Parasnath, of the Covent Garden Primary School, “This is a greenhouse that you have never seen before. It has moved away from the traditional greenhouse to something that would more suit our environment.”
Greenhouses are usually made of glass but according to Parasnath the use of the plastic bottles is in fact more affordable and embraces recycling.
“Thrill bottles are everywhere and that is what makes it so efficient for us to do. Nobody at this point in time would go and buy the materials that are supposed to be used to build a normal greenhouse,” said the Grade Six teacher.
Added to this, the creation of the greenhouse, she said, is intended to promote the ‘grow more’ initiative. “You can use this to grow crops right in your own backyard…here we have garden crops, flower plants and we even have budding trees which can eventually be transferred into the open environment,” informed Parasnath.
Miss Tilota Hussain of Lancaster Secondary School also boasted of her school’s project, which showcased how to utilise discarded glass bottles in a manner that is environmentally friendly. The discarded glass bottles of choice were Stag Beer bottles which are not returnable to the sellers.
“The village we are from has a lot of beer gardens; there are a lot of bottles around the place,” said Hussain. She explained that it has been observed that after consuming stag beers, many people have simply been throwing their empty bottles along the road sides and in the waterways, thus are polluting the environment.
“Because of the Government’s initiative to keep the country clean we are looking at recycling,” said Hussain.
She explained how her school’s project incorporated the use of glass bottles to make attractive concrete finish walkways, to design rails and even to make wall partitions. But the most eye catching use of the glass was the use of the bottles to make a Christmas tree and a candle holder.
Among the intriguing projects was a mini model of an improved and reinforced sea defence structure which capitalises on the use of plastic bottles. According to student, Gayatri Mohanlall of the Beterverwagting Secondary School, plastic bottles were used since it is non-biodegradable.
Based on research, Mohanlall explained, that plastic will not begin to break down until after about 1,000 years thus making it suitable to craft a sea defence mechanism.
The Fair also included a booth by the Government Information Agency (GINA) which highlighted with photographs Guyana path to independence and the progress that has been since.
The Science Fair, which commenced with an opening ceremony with speakers who stressed the importance of STEM, will conclude today with the various projects being assessed.
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