A 12-year-old girl is hoping to combat the Flint, Michigan, water crisis with a new invention involving lead, CBS reports.
Gitanjali Rao hopes her creation will lead to residents of the small town not drinking contaminated water. For more than a year, residents were exposed to unhealthy drinking water thanks to city officials.
“I’ve been following the Flint water crisis for about two years,” the girl said. “Lead is mostly harmful to younger children, about my age—giving them growth defects and potentially damaging their brain.”
Despite being hundreds of miles away from Flint and being physically unaffected by the water crisis, the young scientist felt compelled to act.
The Colorado native presented her invention for the Young Scientist Challenge, for which she was declared the winner.
So what does Rao’s device do exactly?
Well, instead of taking days to send water samples to a lab for lead detection, her invention detects the toxic material in seconds via carbon molecules and a mobile app.
“Imaging living day in and day out drinking contaminated water with dangerous substances like lead. Introducing tethys, the easy to use, fast, accurate, portable and inexpensive device to detect lead in water,” Rao said in her presentation.
Simi Basu is Rao teacher. She said she couldn’t be more proud of her pupil.
“I am so confident that she will be able to take it to the market if we keep providing her help,” Basu said.