As members of the Global Wellness Community, each of us is aware of plastic waste. Fortunately, we are able to reduce our personal plastic waste. Imagine the overall result for the world when each of us commits to using less plastic packaging! One of the easiest ways is to stop buying and drinking water sold in plastic bottles.
Here’s why this is so important:
One of the causes of marine pollution, which is particularly threatening not only to marine life forms but also to humans, is microplastics. When plastic pollution enters the sea, large parts are decomposed over time by the action of marine elements and become tiny particles. These particles, estimated to be the size of a 5 mm sesame seed, detach from the large “garbage stain” and disperse in the sea.
Depending on the density, a part of it sinks downwards, a part floats upwards and a part simply floats in the water. Because the plastic resembles food, it is eaten by a variety of animals in the food chain, including fish, birds, turtles, whales, and even microscopic plankton that eventually works its way to humans. 1
Microplastics are difficult to remove from the sea, and because it’s so tiny, it travels far and wide and basically reaches all the oceans in the world. That’s why most marine pollution control projects, such as .B The Ocean Cleanup, focus on eliminating larger pieces of waste before they can be degraded. 2
In 2019, then-18-year-old Fionn Ferreira invented an effective new method for removing microplastics from the oceans. Ferreira was kayaking on the coast of Ballydehob, his hometown in West Cork, Ireland, when he came across an oil-coated rock. Ferreira noticed that small pieces of plastic stuck to the oil-coated rock. “In chemistry, the same attracts the same,” Ferreira noted. He decided to combine vegetable oil and magnetite powder to create a non-toxic ferrofluid, a “magnetic liquid” that serves as a carrier for tiny magnetic particles – because ferrofluids and plastics attract in the presence of water. Ferreira added his ferrofluid to water samples full of microplastics and then removed the ferrofluid with a magnet, taking the microplastic with him. After hundreds of tests, Ferreira was able to successfully remove at least 87% of the microplastics from the water samples with its ferrofluid. 3
Since then, while studying chemistry at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, Fionn has founded a company focused on microplastic removal technology. Initial tests with ferrofluids as a means of eliminating oil spills have been promising, but Ferreira believes that the massive problem of marine pollution can only be solved if we change our habits. 3
Fionn belongs to the new generation of scientists who do not know a life without plastic pollution. He and other innovative young scientists such as Miranda Wang and Jeanny Yao, who have developed a bacterium that converts plastic into carbon dioxide and water, are committed to saving our oceans.
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2, 3 https://www.good.is/microplastics-magnet-removal