With over 1 million plastic bottles sold a minute and at the current rate plastic set to outweigh fish in the oceans by 2050, plastic pollution is an environmental menace that has been dubbed a ‘planetary crisis’ by the United Nations. Despite the huge challenge,
Professor John McGeehan who headed the research believes the findings could turn the tide, “I think there’s been a huge amount of doom and gloom stories around plastics and justifiably because it’s a terrible environmental scourge. But this is a story where we’ve got some hope that we can actually put together.”
The research was based on a 2016 discovery in a waste facility in Japan of a bacterium that had evolved to eat plastic. During the teams attempt to understand the how the enzyme evolved they made alterations which inadvertently led to the enzyme eating plastic 20% faster than before.
VICE News travels to the seaside city of Portsmouth in the UK to meet the man behind the discovery and what it might mean for a world being poisoned by plastic.
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