Plastic foam cups made of polystyrene – hi there, plastic debris. What does it mean if researchers find worms that can… eat Styrofoam?
Plastic is everywhere, we all know it: we live in the Plastic Age. Plastic bottles and packaging, plastic garments and bags. Plastic is, sadly, convenient. Plastic is also not bio-degradable – and often toxic.
Read more about the Unwelcome Horrors related to plastics and the season of Trick & Threat.
The solution to saving the oceans (read: our own arses) is a combination of prevention and cleanup. Briefly, prevention includes redesign of plastics in cradle-to-cradle systems, waste reduction and waste management. While everybody can be team prevention, cleanup, on the other hand, is a highly complex issue.
Why? Because plastic waste comes in all forms and sizes: from old bottles to finest fibres and microplastics. You can’t just go to the beach, pick up stuff and, abracadabra, the ocean’s clean.
Though that would be cool.
Now, thanks to researchers at the Stanford University, it looks like there’s at least a new option for team cleanup: tiny mealworms seem to be able to digest polystyrene, one of the largest chunks in the plastic waste pile, making it, in fact, bio-degradable. We’ll have to wait and see if it can become a part of a sustainable cleanup strategy.
So, is this new hope – or a license to litter (for some at least)?
I hope it’s the former.
What do you think?