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Geography

In the News

Microbes evolving to eat plastic waste

Joanne Parkinson

15th December 2021

Recent global scientific research has studied more than 200 million gene samples and within these samples over 30,000 enzymes have been discovered which can break down ten different types of plastic waste. One in four of all organisms tested were found to contain a suitable enzyme - suggesting that some plastic waste will be broken down naturally over time.

Whilst this news is uplifting, the scale of plastic pollution globally and the locations in which they are found still mean that this is a huge environmental issue. Plastics have been discovered in the deep ocean as well as in remote locations, such as in rainforests and in mountainous regions, with large amounts on Mount Everest. Many plastics are also hard to recycle and whilst it is positive looking forward that enzymes might be able to help break these plastics down, there is still a long way to go for all plastics to be tackled in this way.

For more on this article, check out the report on the Guardian website.

Joanne Parkinson

An experienced, outstanding Geography teacher, GCSE examiner and Head of Humanities in a 11-18 school. I'm passionate about all geographical events and am a keen blogger.

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