Scientists create tiny magnetic coils to breakdown plastic in oceans

Dunya News –

There are more pieces of plastic in the ocean than stars in the Milky Way galaxy.

Up to 14 million tons of plastic enters the ocean annually, 40 percent of which is considered “single-use”, which means it goes into the water within the same year that it was produced.

Most plastics never fully break down; they just fragment into smaller pieces called microplastics (5 millimetres across or smaller). Microplastics have been found in every corner of the globe, from the deepest part of the Mariana Trench to the top of the French Pyrenees.

Addressing this plastic pollution problem, of course, requires limiting plastic production. But innovators are also exploring ways to clean up plastic and microplastic that’s already in the ocean.

In a new study published in the journal Matter, scientists describe a new type of nanotechnology that could help: tiny magnetic “nano-coils” that create chemical reactions in order to break down microplastics in the ocean. The process converts the plastic into carbon dioxide and water.

Xiaoguang Duan, a co-author of the new study, told Business Insider that although the technique is still in its infancy, the study “provides a possible solution to tackle a global problem.”

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