OPINION: How should we explore new solutions to tackle the global plastic crisis? | East Coast Radio

OPINION: How should we explore new solutions to tackle the global plastic crisis?

If people don't do something about this issue, then we could face a huge global problem.

Scientists need to develop technologies to get rid of plastic waste.

With plastic becoming an increasingly pervasive problem all over the world, scientists are working hard to find clever and innovative ways to tackle the global plastic crisis. 

From developing new methods of recycling and breaking down plastic waste to introducing biodegradable plastics to the market, these are some of the ways the world is addressing the issue. 

Read more: Countries eye UN deal to rein in plastic pollution

According to IOL, United Nations scientists estimate that between 1950 and 2017, 9.2-billion tonnes of waste has been produced.

Researchers are pushing the boundaries of what is possible in order to reduce our environmental impact.

Despite a move by countries towards single-use and degradable plastics, hundreds of tonnes end up on sites like these, every year:

One approach that is becoming increasingly popular is the use of bacteria to break down plastic products. 

Researchers at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia recently modified the genes of a strain of bacteria known as Ideonella sakaiensis to break down plastic more quickly. 

Read more: World's melting ice a hot topic for UN

This process, known as bio-degradation, involves the bacteria breaking down the plastic polymers into carbon dioxide and water, which is then recycled as energy for the bacteria, reducing the amount of plastic waste in our environment.

The benefits of this research are twofold. 

Read more: Microplastics in drinking water not a health risk for now: WHO

On one hand, it can help reduce the amount of plastic waste in rivers and oceans, which could help prevent the devastating environmental damage caused by plastic pollution. 

On the other hand, it could also help to reduce the production of non-biodegradable plastics, as bio-degradable plastics are often seen as a more cost-effective option.

Scientists need to develop technologies to get rid of plastic waste.

In addition to this, scientists are also exploring the potential for using nanomaterials in the production of biodegradable plastics. 

This involves the use of nano-sized particles in order to create stronger, more durable plastics that decompose quickly when exposed to natural elements like sunlight and air. 

Read more: Plastic bags to be scrapped at Pick n Pay till points

Not only does this reduce the amount of plastic waste produced, but it also reduces the amount of energy required to recycle plastic products.

Innovative solutions like these are helping to reduce the global plastic crisis. 

Read more: Woolworths scraps single-use green plastic bags

It’s important to remember that the most successful solutions will require support from both industry and government in order to be implemented. 

With continued investment in research and potential regulations, the world could soon see an end to the damaging impact of plastic waste.

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