Teenager develops potential way to clean up ocean
A Canadian teenager has developed a strain of bacteria which it is hoped may one day be able to tackle the huge volume of rubbish in the world’s oceans.
Daniel Burd has isolated two strains of bacteria which speed up the decomposition of plastic – a development which, one day, could be turned to help solve the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch.’
The worst-affected is the North Pacific Gyre, an area twice the size of the USA in the horse latitudes, where slowly rotating currents draw in and ‘trap’ debris. While, historically, this debris has biodegraded, the gyre is now accumulating vast quantities of plastic.
‘Any attempt to remove that much plastic from the oceans just boggles the mind,’ Marine Researcher Chris Moore toldThe Daily Galaxy. ‘There’s just too much, and the ocean is just too big.’
Ian Kiernan, founder of Clean Up the World , says he’ll never be able the forget the sight as he sailed through the area.
‘It was just filled with things like furniture, fridges, plastic containers, cigarette lighters, plastic bottles, light globes, televisions and fishing nets, and it’s all so durable it floats. It’s just a major problem.’
In what could prove to be a pivotal discovery, Canadian teenager Daniel Burd recently won a scholarship to further develop his research. He isolated two strains of bacteria (Sphingomonas and Pseudomonas) that work together to consume polyethelene plastic at record rates, rendering plastic bags 43% decomposed after six weeks, with the only outputs being water and an tiny amount of carbon dioxide. The system is cheap, energy efficient, and easily scalable for industrial applications.