Can We End Plastic Pollution?

Littering and pollution is destroying our planet. Scientists have been working tirelessly for years to find cheap, effective and versatile means to plastic degradation. In this article, we will focus on the positive news in the field of innovation and ecology, while exploring some of the discoveries that may change the future for the better.

Every minute, the equivalent of a truck of plastic lands in the ocean, staying there for hundreds of years, unless eaten by marine life. Similarly, we can talk about the plastic currently polluting landfills and destroying the habitats of species. Because of those scary, yet unfortunately real facts, we need to find solutions that will enable us to degrade this material quickly and efficiently.

One of those solutions was actually discovered by two Polish high school students. The teenagers looked at the ability of a larvae, galleria mellonella, to eat and digest plastic. In fact, this discovery was made accidentally in 2017 in Spain where people first noticed that the larvae had eaten the plastic bag they were carried in. The students measured the efficiency of plastic degradation exhibited by the larvae in different conditions, for example by changing temperature and the available amount of wax that is their primary source of nutrition. They found that the larvae are the most successful at this task at 24 degrees Celsius and with 1:1 ratio of wax to plastic.

We are now going to travel from Poland to Japan, more specifically to the University of Tokyo, where scientists found a type of paper which has all typical characteristics of plastic. However- unlike plastic, it’s biodegradable. The idea is quite “simple”! Paper is covered with a special coating called Choetsu,  activated when cellulose  comes into contact with water, becoming leaktight and waterproof. Hopefully, it will help us make a transition from plastic to more environmentally friendly materials.

There is definitely a lot we have to do in order to save our planet from being uninhabitable in the next few decades. However, scientists  are making huge contributions in this field which are likely to improve our future.

Reference list
Baluc, K. (2021). Mole woskowe mogą pomóc w walce z zalewem plastiku. Nastoletni polscy naukowcy prowadzą badania. [online] TVN24. Available at: [Accessed 9 Jan. 2023].
Producent chemii specjalistycznej (2022). Ekologiczny plastik coraz bliżej? Japońscy naukowcy stworzyli jego papierową odmianę. [online] Portal Produktowy Grupy PCC. Available at: [Accessed 9 Jan. 2023].

Lena Nowaczek

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Back to top
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x