Plastic pollution is destroying our ecosystem yet we’re still not fully aware of it. There’s plastic in our soil, plastic in our oceans, and even in space. Plastic pollution is a serious problem that threatens our very existence. But, while many countries are backing single-use plastic products, others just won’t do it.
Single-use straws and other types of products for single use made of plastic are the worst. They pop up on landfills and in oceans faster than ever, ruining our ecosystem and our plan about a sustainable planet.
Let’s look at some plastic pollution facts:
- Only 9% of all plastic is recycled;
- We have produced over 8 billion tons of plastic since the 1950s. That’s around a billion elephants in weight;
- The equivalent of a truck full of plastic is dropped into our oceans every minute;
- Over 12 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans;
- There’s enough plastic in our oceans to circle the world 400 times.
Scary? It gets worse. We’ve reached the peak of plastic pollution and the situation is dire. Still, many countries decide against recycling or even pushing plastic out of our lives. We haven’t dropped our plastic production as well, but there might be a solution – plastic-eating worms.
How Can Plastic-Eating Worms Help?
Easily, when you look at it. Scientists have recently discovered a worm that feeds on plastic called a waxworm. Like many things in science, it has been found completely by accident. This, of course, doesn’t undermine its efficiency.
The worm is a member of the caterpillar family and is already being called our planet’s savior. To test its plastic ‘cravings’, a bunch of different worms were put in a plastic bag. Researchers noticed holes in them in 40 minutes and after 12 hours, the plastic in the bags was reduced by 92 mg. Those are really promising results.
Just to be safe, the scientists then crushed the worms and left them on the plastic bags. After a while, there were holes again. This shows that even the chemical composition of waxworms can eat through plastic. According to latest findings, they contain special enzymes that help them digest plastic with ease. It’s obviously a special kind of worm that could end up saving the planet for real.
Research is already underway to learn more about waxworms and how they can fight one of the worst problems we’ve been facing lately. Plastic pollution needs to stop, and an unlikely hero may be called into action.