We can all attest that plastic menace is a huge environmental issue across the globe. This is because it has been a huge challenge stopping the use of plastics. While some countries such as Kenya has seen the ban of plastic bags, bottles, soap containers and other types of plastics are still being used. Although the situation may seem hopeless, Christopher Johnson, a molecular scientist at National Renewable Energy Laboratory together with other scientists could soon find a solution to this.
The Plastic Menace
This has been a huge problem not only on the streets and landfills but also in waterbodies. Millions of plastic bottles are washed to the shores of the ocean every year. They are a safety hazard to marine life as they permeate the oceans. Once the creation of the plastic-eating bacteria is complete, it will no longer be a problem to marine life.
The Creation of a Biological Enzyme
Together with other scientists, Johnson has been engineering a biological enzyme that is meant to help with the plastic menace. The enzyme is created so as to chew on plastics that are an eyesore in landfills. With the introduction of the bacteria, plastic bottles and papers will no longer be a problem in the streets and landfills considering that they take longer to degrade. They will slowly be eaten away.
The plastic-eating bacteria is not yet where scientists want it to be as it cannot be used industrially yet. They have been working on improving it and they continue to do so. When the researchers discovered the biological enzyme, it was accidental and they took up the opportunity to engineer it in an effort to fight the plastic problem.
A Recycling Solution
While millions of plastics go to waste daily, this bacteria will revolutionize recycling. Most people have been asking what happens when the bacteria ‘eats’ the plastics! They don’t have stomachs. They eat the polymers which are converted into a source of building blocks that will be used to manufacture other products that have better quality.
Although most have been skeptical about engineering the bacteria and making it effective in the modern world, there seems to be a future for it. Johnson and his team are hopeful as they continue to improve the biological enzyme that will first be used industrially.