Since the advent of plastic products, people have begun to mass-produce plastic products.

  • 2022-04-07
Since the advent of plastic products, people have begun to mass-produce plastic products. All kinds of peculiar and beautiful plastics have become valuable works of art after being packaged. Plastic products not only facilitate people's lives, but also reduce the cost of living and have high economic benefits. However, plastic products also bring a lot of harm, especially plastic pollution, which seriously damages the local environment and reduces people's quality of life. 
The dangers of plastic

According to statistics, the global plastic production in 2020 will reach 367 million tons. Except for some plastics that can be used, the rest will become garbage discarded by people. In the past 70 years, the weight of plastic waste discarded by humans has already exceeded 7 billion tons. Unlike metal products, plastic products can be recycled. Most of the plastics are disposable, and only a small part can be recycled. Therefore, under the circumstance that the production of plastic remains high and increases every year, the problem of plastic pollution will only become more and more serious, and it is difficult to alleviate it unless people can find a solution to plastic pollution completely.

The traditional treatment method is incineration or landfill, but both methods will cause environmental pollution. After plastic is burned, toxic and harmful gases will be produced, which will pollute the air. After the plastic is buried in the soil, it naturally takes a hundred years to degrade completely. During this process, the plastic will change the soil structure and composition, and the soil nutrients will be lost. In addition, plastic exposed to nature can be eaten by birds, indirectly killing many living things.
But we have to admit that plastic products have created a lot of value for human beings, and it is impossible for us to completely stop production, and a one-size-fits-all approach is not practical. Since it is impossible to fundamentally eliminate plastic production, finding the law of plastic degradation is our breakthrough. There are decomposers in nature, and microorganisms are the most likely natural enemies of plastics.
New discovery
Scientist Kodaira Oda accidentally discovered a microorganism that can feed on polyethylene terephthalate (PET), Osaka Sakai bacteria, which may be the natural enemy of plastic products. PET is actually the most commonly used raw material for plastic products. It is a synthetic substance. Under natural conditions, it takes hundreds of years to degrade.
However, the Osaka Sakai mushroom has the magical ability to "disassemble eight pieces" of plastic in a short period of time. Why does the Osaka Sakai mushroom have such a magical function? It turns out that there are two special enzymes in Sakai Osaka, which can react with PET and decompose into ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid. In this way, the difficult-to-degrade PET is converted into easily degradable ethylene glycol and paraben. Phthalic acid, this is nothing short of a miracle.
Is the plastic crisis over?
The Osaka Sakai bacteria has made people see a solution to the plastic crisis, and it is a breakthrough in solving plastic pollution. In fact, humans have long started to study related microorganisms for biodegradation, but they found that ordinary microorganisms can only degrade soft plastics, but there is nothing to do with those with high hardness. But Osaka Sakai bacteria is different, no matter whether the plastic is soft or hard, it can "eat" because it is its only source of nutrition.
Can people completely solve the plastic crisis with the Osaka Sakai bacteria? Yes, but it is very difficult and takes a long time to study. Under natural conditions, the degradation efficiency of Osaka Sakai bacteria is not high, and it is difficult to degrade a plastic bottle in a short time even if a large amount of Osaka Sakai bacteria is put in. Therefore, people need to make Osaka Sakai bacteria more powerful, improve their capabilities and improve their efficiency.
After figuring out how Sakai bacteria degrade plastics, scientists began to try to create this enzyme and make it powerful through related technologies. For example, various enzymes with the ability to degrade plastics are combined to form a more efficient enzyme. Today, there are relatively mature plastic degradation factories in some areas. Workers degrade plastics into small molecules by putting in relevant enzymes, and then use these molecules to make higher-quality plastics, which is equivalent to realizing plastic recycling in disguise. .
The plastic pollution crisis cannot be solved overnight. In addition to researching better degradation methods, we also need to actively participate in garbage classification, classify recyclable plastics, and make full use of every plastic product. In addition, do not discard plastic products at will, but collect and dispose of them uniformly. You know, many creatures suffer from common diseases because of plastic waste, especially marine animals, which are being poisoned by plastic waste. Therefore, finding a solution to the plastic crisis is not only saving humans, but animals as well.

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