Researchers at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) developed a magnetic powder, which removes microplastics from water in just one hour.
The new invention aims to alleviate the critical situation in the world's oceans and rivers caused by plastic pollution.
The Greenpeace figures are devastating: 8 million tons of trash end up in the ocean every year. In addition to harming marine life, this also endangers our health through the absorption of microplastics. Faced with this problem, Australian scientists decided to develop this material to try to alleviate the situation. A magnetic powder for removing microplastics in water.
The powder is composed of ferrous nanomaterials. In this way, it attracts microplastics without leaving a residue of other pollutants. Amazingly, it is able to eliminate existing plastic in as little as one hour. When mixed with water, the powder can use a magnet to remove microplastics and pollutants. This is a faster and more economical method than other methods already in use. Furthermore, it leaves no residue and does not harm the ecosystem.
According to study leader Nicky Eshtiaghi, "This powder additive can remove microplastics 1,000 times smaller than those currently detected from wastewater treatment plants".
Following this lab experiment, the researchers are considering scaling it up to a larger scale. The idea is that it could also be applied to sewage treatment plants. This will save costs and speed up a process that would normally take days. The researchers claim the substance could end up millions of tonnes of plastic and microplastics every year. In Spain alone, 50% of the plastic that reaches the waste disposal system ends up in landfill without being recycled. In fact, much of it enters waterways and oceans through drainage systems in urban areas.
Plastic is a substance that takes over 400 years to break down, so a solution is desperately needed. Any kind of education and training regarding the sustainable use of plastic and the reduction of its use, should be learned and ubiquitous by the Global Society in its early years. This is the only way to create networks and spread sustainable innovations. There is no doubt that these good news make believe that the goal of pollution-free oceans and rivers of the Sustainable Development Goals, is possibly one step closer.
More information: https://www.rmit.edu.au/news/all-news/2022/nov/microplastics-removal