Microplastics are tiny particles of plastic that are now found everywhere in the world in the air, water, and soil, and are increasingly recognized as a serious pollution threat. Did you know that MicroPlastics are now being found in the bloodstream of humans and animals worldwide! They are also found in the lungs.
Some of these MicroPlastics are added to a variety of different products, including agricultural chemicals, paints, cosmetics, etc. 50,000 tons of MicroPlastics are used every year in the European Union! The EU has already declared that we should stop the use of MicroPlastics and eliminate them by 2025. People are now searching for suitable replacements which currently don’t exist.
A team of scientists at MIT has developed a system based on silk that could provide an inexpensive and easily manufactured substitute. This new process was described in a paper in the journal Small, written by MIT postdoc Muchun Liu, MIT professor of civil and environmental engineering Benedetto Marelli, and five others at the chemical company BASF in Germany and the U.S.
Let’s hope that we could stop the use of MicroPlastics to make our beloved earth a better place to live!
Author: Sri Nihal Tammana
PC: SEM images by Muchun Liu, edited by MIT News