Earth has a huge problem, and like many other things, it’s caused by humans. That problem is plastic.
According to rough estimates, it is believed that around 12 billion metric tons of plastic will pollute our planet by 2050. But plastic is a growing issue.
However, mother nature may have a solution to a problem that we’ve created. Plastic-eating bugs.
Experts at the Royal Botanic Gardens are convinced that plastic-eating organisms may be our best bet in solving (eating) around six billion tons of plastic waste around the world.
The plan is to fill the bellies of a fungus found by scientists studying a rubbish dump outside Islamabad, Pakistan, in 2017.
The ‘Magic Mushroom’–Aspergillus tubingensis–produces an enzyme that has the ability to break down the most super-resilient plastics like polyester polyurethane. It can fully digest it within weeks, rather than years.
This means that these bugs can help us get rid of our plastic waste.
But not only could they clean the plastic waste on the surface of our planet, but they can also do the same in the oceans if the organisms are pit inside marine fungi.
Speaking about the unorthodox solution, Katherine Willis, director of science at Kew argues that we could see the bus eating away plastic pollution by 2023, mostly because there is widespread interest from many international companies in developing it.
And it kind of makes senses when you think about it. The more plastic we can get rid off, the more we can produce. That’s just human nature, isn’t it?
According to reports, nearly half of the plastic products bought by people around the globe are tossed away within a year.
The numbers are scary.
According to experts, around 20 billion metric tons of plastic could end up in landfills by 2050.
Plastic pollution is so bad that it has been found to choke marine wildlife, as well as entering the ocean food chain, exposing marine life to toxic chemicals which eventually can end up on our dinner plates.
And it seems that the more we throw at mother nature, the more nature responds.
Scientists have found that plastic-eating caterpillars have also appeared on Earth. They say that the waxworm, a type of moth caterpillar, has been seen to eat plastic bags made from polyethylene–which happens to be one of the toughest and most commonly used plastics used in millions of products people buy each day.
However, while plastic-eating bugs may be a great solution for the excess of plastic in the environment, it raises an important question: Could these nature-saving bugs evolve one day and start eating vital components in cars, homes, computers, mobile phones, airports, and hospital?