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At just 16 years old, Newcastle KwaZulu-Natal’s Dia Singh is well on her way to establishing herself at a global level, after bagging an international accolade.
This follows the Grade 11 learner from St Dominics Newcastle being honoured with a prestigious WOW (Women Of Wonder) award, during a star-studded function held at The Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga, Durban, on 14 October 2022.
Moreover, the Durban event was presented by East Coast Radio’s Jayshree Parasuramen and was attended by the likes of Dr Imtiaz Sooliman (Gift of the Givers), various medical professionals, renowned businesswomen, authors and more.
Reflecting on the awards ceremony, Dia explained, “I was so excited as the invitation was so glamorous and so was the event.”
Ecstatic to have received the invitation, Dia found herself elated after her name was announced confirming that she had been awarded the international accolade. “It was truly an honour to receive the award with the likes of 72-year-old Mathabo Kunene, wife of Poet Laureate Prof Mazisi Kunene, Zohra Sooliman (co-founder of Gift of the Givers), medical doctors, cancer survivors, authors, businesswomen and more.”
Dia’s WOW award was given in recognition of her solution to the plastic problem of the world – the PIP project.
What is the project about?
PIP is, quite simply, plastic incinerated by plastic. Dia’s idea stemmed from watching a documentary about a group of marine biologists in Costa Rica, who had to intervene when they fished a sea turtle from the ocean, which had a plastic straw stuck in its nostril.
After extensive research, Dia noted that plastic waste was a global pandemic.
“Beaches and rivers are strewn with plastic waste and municipal garbage sites use large pieces of land to house this plastic waste. While solutions like paper straws are welcome, I wanted to find a solution that would nip the plastic waste problem in the bud,” said Dia.
Therefore, she set out to develop and design a ground-breaking process which included an apparatus she calls the ‘Plasticator’.
“My research aimed to demonstrate that the fuel produced when plastic is heated, can burn more plastic waste. This means that the use of plastic fuel can be used in place of a fossil fuel. The closed system reduces the plastic that is thrown away and that is polluting the environment, by burning it.”
Dia elaborated by saying her goal was to see if plastic fuel could be used in place of fossil fuel to become a viable substitute fuel source and in the process, reduce plastic waste and the burning of fossil fuels and natural gasses.
She debuted the PIP project at the Eskom International Science Fair, where she took home gold for her innovation.
“Ultimately, I envision the PIP system being set up near beaches, rivers and municipal waste disposal areas, as well as in industries.”
Making a difference by starting small
In a room where everyone was extraordinary, Dia said the WOW awards experience taught her that anyone can make a difference in this world by starting small.
“By helping just one individual, be it man or animal, this small act of kindness can compound into something extraordinary,” she highlighted.
Furthermore, Dia explained that attending the awards ceremony and winning an internationally renowned award has inspired her tremendously. “It has inspired me to help and give more, especially due to the people I met there, who do so much for others, the environment and women empowerment.”
Concluding, Dia said she was now more determined to help save the environment and others than ever before and would look at potentially collaborating with organisations to make an even greater positive impact on the world.
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