picture of scientist probably sampling a bacteria
Articles,  Plastic pollution

Can anaerobic bacteria be our solution for plastic pollution?

Plastic pollution has become a severe environmental issue in recent years.

It’s estimated that there are over 50-75 trillion pieces of plastic and microplastic waste floating around our oceans, which poses a great threat to marine life and human health.

There are several reasons why plastic pollution is such a big problem but two main issues are:

First, it takes hundreds of thousands of years for plastic to break down into its original elements.

Second, plastics are made out of non-renewable fossil fuels.

Scientists presented many solutions for plastic pollution. Recycling, reusing, and so on which you are probably familiar with. But have you ever heard about anaerobic bacteria?

What are anaerobic bacteria?

Generally, the classification of bacteria depends on their requirement for oxygen.  Anaerobic bacteria are microorganisms that live in environments where oxygen does not exist or the levels are very low.

in the human body, anaerobic bacteria can be found in wounds when there is no oxygen-rich blood flowing into them.   

anaerobic bacteria

Can plastic be degraded by anaerobic bacteria?

There is not much research about the anaerobic bacteria’s effect on plastic, but In a 2020 study, scientists explained how the primary elements of plastics can be destroyed by anaerobic bacteria.

picture of plastic bottles in article of plastic era in nopolluting

They believed anaerobic bacteria can biodegrade phthalic acid, terephthalic acid, and isophthalic acid which are the main elements of plastic. 

scientists also believe this type of microorganism can be a revolutionary, long-term method of removing plastics from the environment.

they also highlighted that using anaerobic bacteria for degrading plastic is a realistic and Eco-friendly method that can be scalable for solving this global pollution. 

Conclusion

unfortunately, there have not been many studies about anaerobic bacteria’s reaction to plastic. 

how ever scientists are currently in a race to find a so-called “plastic-eating bacteria” which can help the planet in this fight against plastic pollution

but if we truly understand the damage we are forcing to the environment and ourselves by this insane demand for plastic, we should not hesitate to find every possible solution we can to fix it.