New Technology System Could Fix Microplastic Pollution Threat

Microplastics have become a huge topic in the last decade. Microplastics have become a major environmental concern due to their potential harm to humans and the planet. These tiny plastic particles contain dangerous chemicals and are difficult to detect, posing a serious risk to our health and the environment.

What Are Microplastics?

Microplastics are tiny plastic pieces, less than 5mm in diameter, that break off larger plastic items in water or on land. They can also be found in some synthetic materials such as certain types of clothing and can be found in various environments.

Here are just a few places where microplastics have been found:

  • Water systems
  • Farm soil
  • Air in remote areas
  • The Arctic Ocean

Plastic and microplastics are major environmental pollutants. Unfortunately, it takes hundreds of years for plastic to decompose naturally. However, scientists have recently developed an enzyme that can break down plastics in just a matter of days. Enzymes are tiny molecules that catalyze chemical reactions in all living organisms, breaking down old substances and creating new ones. However, it is very difficult for plastic enzymes to exist outside of a lab. Researchers must strengthen this technology to use plastic-eating enzymes globally.

New Microrobots That Consume Microplastics

Researchers have created a new solution to the issue of microplastics: tiny plastic-eating robots. Microrobots are coated with a material that attracts microplastics like a magnet. When the plastic is detected, the robots break down the material that bonds it together. Essentially the microplastics become natural materials.

Currently, microbots are only operational in aquatic environments and thrive in closed water systems such as wastewater and drinking water facilities. However, their magnetic composition can also attract other materials. Pollutants such as oil, waste, and non-plastic trash can disrupt the functioning of microorganisms in water. These microrobots can potentially filter microplastics from local water systems, providing huge help.


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