Discover Plastic-Eating Worms That Could Save The Planet
Discover plastic worms that could save the planet
The plastic crisis we are facing affects everyone on the planet. No one is safe from the harmful effects of plastic pollution and, unless we do something radical, our planet and its people will continue to suffer. While some countries, such as Costa Rica, have banned disposable plastics, the world is still far from solving the plastics epidemic.
Some cities, such as Seattle and Washington, have banned disposable straws and grocery stores are being created around the world and no longer contain waste. Of course, these efforts are commendable, but the rest of the world must catch up to make our planet sustainable today and in the future.
HERE ARE SOME STARTLING STATISTICS FROM GREEN PEACE ABOUT JUST HOW PERVASIVE THE PLASTIC PROBLEM HAS BECOME:
- Since the 1950s, about 8.3 billion tons of plastic have been produced, which corresponds to the weight of about one billion elephants.
- Of all plastics, only 9% were recycled, 12% burned and the rest dumped in landfills or in the environment.
- Each year, 12.7 million tonnes of plastic are released into the oceans.
- Every minute, the equivalent of a truck filled with plastic is projected into the oceans.
- There are 5,000 billion pieces of plastic in our oceans, enough to go around the planet more than 400 times.
- First World countries, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada, export plastic waste to countries in Asia and Africa and lend the problem of plastic waste to often poorer communities.
As you can see, the production and recycling of plastics has been difficult. Unfortunately, most plastics are not even recycled and the only solution seems to be to change the materials we use in our everyday products. Or we could usually buy and produce less (someone had to say it).
The worm eating plastic
For now, though, I’ve found another practical solution to the problem: a worm that can literally eat through our plastic. This tiny creature, known as the wax worm, which actually belongs to the caterpillar family, could potentially help save our planet. This amazing discovery was made by accident, as are most discoveries that have transformed life.
We believe that these plastic eating worms have a specific enzyme that helps them digest plastic. Let’s hope they will soon be conducting further studies on this enzyme! Scientists could perhaps start releasing worms in areas of high plastic pollution to make the soil cleaner.