You're never too young to make a difference. An aspiring environmental scientist from Wilton, Connecticut has come up with a novel solution to clean up oil pipeline spills using something you would usually throw away: fruit peels.

Fourteen-year-old Anika Bhagavatula found that a mix of pomegranate husks and orange peels could absorb motor oil two to three times its own weight.


Bhagavatula's project was inspired by the ongoing fears that the Dakota Access Pipeline could spill and pollute the Missouri River.

"The reason why I wanted to pinpoint oil spills was because there has been a lot of talk about the Dakota pipeline," the rising high school freshman told Business Insider. "And the reason why people don't want this is because oil spills are a huge issue which can occur, obviously, from pipelines. And these oil spills can contaminate drinking-water sources and harm wildlife."

"I wanted to find a natural sorbent which could clean up these oil spills and would replace harmful remediation solutions, which, while effective, can damage the environment," she added.

According to The Hour, the eighth grader presented her research at her middle school and state science fairs. She not only took home first place awards for her project, she also earned a spot as a finalist in the 2017 Young Scientist Challenge where she could win $25,000 and the title of "America's Top Young Scientist."