Scientists have developed a new technique to break down the microplastics in the water. By using tiny coil-shaped carbon-based magnets placed in nanotubes, over the course of just eight hours, they were capable to decompose the microplastics without harming nearby microorganisms.
To achieve even better results, the University of Adelaide-let research team added a small amount of manganese to their nanotubes, so it is easy to collect them from the real wastewater streams without leaching the chemicals into the water.
Under this method, microplastics are completely transformed into carbon dioxide or other substances harmless for microorganisms, fish or other animals in the water. It is unclear how this method would affect the acidity of the water and what impact it will have on coral reefs.
This research is published in the journal Matter, as a collaboration between the University of Adelaide, Curtin University, Edith Cowan University and the Guangdong University of Technology in China.
The next step for researchers is to make sure that nano springs work on microplastics of different shapes, origins, and chemical compositions; and to rigorously confirm the non-toxicity of their method.
Until this method of dissolving microplastics is ready to leave the lab environment, we continue to work on limiting the number of microplastics entering the waterways by making biodegradable and organic clothes. At Ethicuette, we believe in prevention, as well as in cure :)