When people think of bacteria, it is usually involves negative thoughts due to the sicknesses they can cause us. However, there is a species of this unwanted organism that could actually change the mind of people about its worth.
Ideonella sakaiensis, is a strain of bacteria that has been newly discovered to have the ability of eating plastics. According to the academic journal ‘Science’, “Ideonella sakaiensis breaks down the plastic by using two enzymes to hydrolyze PET and a primary reaction intermediate, eventually yielding basic building blocks for growth.”
This discovery gives light and awakens the hope to defeat the ever-growing problem of plastic pollution. Only 7.1% of all plastics consumed and generated in United States are being recycled. More so, eighty percent of marine environment pollution comes from the land. This scenario will only continue to get worse!
According to a WEF report, only 14% of plastic packaging is being collected from the ocean for recycling, and if the number of plastics continue to accumulate, by 2020 the number of plastics will be greater than fish in the ocean!
“We have shared the possibility of biological recycling of plastics,” Shosuke Yoshida said, author of the paper came out in the Journal Science. “We want to develop this discovery into the application. This is the very first step.” Yoshida added.
Through this discovery, our problem with plastic pollution could be fixed down the road! This opens the door for further researchers to improve the facts gathered and develop a concrete plan and action to combat the pollution of plastics.
It will take many years to find a solid solution that can work on a global scale, but as of now the accumulation of plastic waste needs to be slowed down. This can only be possible if people will have self-discipline. This bacteria could be the possible solution for plastic pollution but intense help of people by lessening the plastic consumption would be a greater help.