How to solve the plastic pollution problem? Bacteria that munch on plastic: could this be the answer to the humanity’s environmental crisis? After all, we’re drowning in tons of plastic, and it’s hurting our oceans, the creatures in them, and even our own health!
This microscopic plastic-eater isn’t your average bacteria. Scientists actually found a way to mutate this microorganism and boost its planet-saving superpower. It can make the world a better place by eating away all the plastic waste. And with about 20,000 water bottles being bought every second around the world, it’s got a big job to do.
- A staggering 19 billion pounds of plastic end up in our oceans every year. Once it’s there, it gets ingested by the animals that humans eat, which means our health gets affected too.
- Plastic can disrupt ecosystems and create more and more areas where nothing can survive.
- Plastic is all around us, and (get this) it’s even inside of us! Plastic is used so extensively that it’s been found in human stool!
- It takes around 400 years for some types of plastic to fully biodegrade, like the ones used in water and soda bottles.
- Japanese researchers discovered a strand of bacteria that’s evolved to eat a particular type of plastic called polyethylene terephthalate, commonly known as PET or PETE.
- According to them, the bacteria could break the plastic down into smaller pieces but not fully eat it away. It took about 6 weeks for the bacteria to eat through a thin layer of plastic.
- Enzyme technology could be used to help humanity’s trash problem, but it’s still in its early stages. The researchers are continuing to tweak the enzyme in hopes that they can improve upon it even further and use it on a larger scale.
- The creation of this super enzyme is a great way to kick off a solution to plastic pollution. But this enzyme, despite its mutant nature, can’t undo all the pollution that’s currently in the world.
- As long as people keep buying and using it, companies will continue to manufacture plastic. The cycle will keep on going until the consumer is willing to break it.
- Don’t give into the lazy convenience of plastic plates and utensils. Use porcelain dinnerware, and just do the dishes afterwards. Just make it fun and turn on some music or your favorite show!