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March 30, 2011

Following receipt of 208 entries from 60 countries, three finalists have been chosen for this year’s prestigious St Andrews Prize for the Environment. 

The prize, a joint environmental initiative by the University of St Andrews in Scotland and international energy company ConocoPhillips, aims to find practical solutions to environmental challenges from around the globe.

Sir Crispin Tickell, Chairman of the St Andrews Prize for the Environment Trustees, said: ‘We are delighted that the Prize has become so well established and in this, our fourteenth successive year, it continues to attract such a range of innovative projects from all over the world. We very much look forward to meeting this year’s finalists and to hearing about their projects which aim to help make the world a better place.’

The finalists’ presentations will be heard at a seminar at St Andrews University in April and the winner will be announced on Wednesday, 25 April 2012.

This year’s finalists are:

Lion Guardians: A participatory approach to conservation

The Lion Guardians employ 32 non-literate Maasai warriors in Kenya as community conservationists and field biologists and have created an entrepreneurial solution through employment and empowering communities to conserve lions as a long-term livelihood strategy.

The Maasai’s relationship with lions is complex; lions are both a source of anxiety as they kill livestock and threaten livelihoods, and are a central element in symbolic rituals that convey prestige and status.

The programme’s activities includes literacy training for the Maasai, mitigating lion-livestock conflict, monitoring lion populations by combining traditional and modern tracking with high levels of local participation, preventing lion killing by employing local leaders and the naming of lions by the Maasai, as familiarity breeds ownership.

Aqua21: Ozone-based water purification technology

This project aims to deliver non-chemical, low carbon and reliable water purification technology to a global market. The superiority of ozone-based technology over other treatment methods is scientifically accepted and widely acknowledged but capital costs, energy requirements and unit size have previously restricted application.

This technology overcomes these hurdles and its unique and proven scalability can deliver safe, clean water to kitchen taps, industrial processes and in emergency aid situations, at significantly lower energy and capital costs than established alternatives.

The project aims to advance its plans through partnerships and equity investment carrying out extensive field testing in 2012-13.

Sanergy: Providing sustainable sanitation in urban slums

Eight million people in the slums of Kenya lack access to adequate sanitation, causing four million metric tons of untreated human waste to be discharged into the surrounding soil and waterways.

Throughout the slums, Sanergy is building a dense network of small-scale high quality sanitation centres located close to homes. The waste from these toilets is collected in 30 litre containers. Each day Sanergy employees collect the full containers, transport them to the central processing facility and replace them with clean empty containers.

The waste is used to produce organic fertiliser and electricity through biogas. New technologies are also being developed to convert the waste into bio-char and animal feed.

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