A student representing Ireland has won the top prize at a virtual international science and technology fair.

Ruth Madden, a student at Largy College in Clones, Co Monaghan, claimed the Gold Award in Physical and Engineering at the Hong Kong Global Youth Science and Technology Bowl.

She had already won the SciFest National Final, sponsored by Science Foundation Ireland, for her project 'The Microplastic Filter – A Small Solution to a Global Problem'.

Ruth’s work focused on reducing the volume of microplastics entering the environment through wastewater from domestic washing machines.

She designed and constructed a filtration unit capable of intercepting microplastics as small as 0.1mm that can be retrofitted to existing standard domestic wastewater infrastructure.

The international competition attracted entries from 22 countries and regions around the world.

Ruth said she was "delighted" to have won and said the award "does not just recognise my efforts" but is also an acknowledgement of the support and encouragement from her family and the staff of Largy College.

Two other Irish students - Timothy McGrath of Killorglin Community College, Co Kerry and Alice Shaughnessy, of Calasanctius College, Galway – also qualified for the Hong Kong event.