Plastic eating enzyme is exciting but scary

Litterbugs
Litterbugs

Plastic eating enzymes – exciting or scary?

In 2016 a plastic eating bacteria was discovered in a waste dump in Japan. While trying to verify these claims, British scientists accidentally created a mutant enzyme which eats soft plastic bottles.

When I heard this on the news, I got very excited. However, on reading the full story, the enzyme appears to break down larger pieces of plastic into smaller pieces. It would support more effective recycling of plastic bottles, but the plastic would still need to be recovered first.

The enzyme can’t be released into the environment to find its own plastic. Until scientists know the long-term environmental impact of the enzyme, we are a long way off seeing millions of plastic bottles being eaten.

It is a very exciting discovery, but also very scary.

Until the enzyme has been tried and tested, scientists agree that reducing the amount of plastic we produce is preferable. So I will continue my rant about our plastic society.

LitterBugs have also decided to join the craze sweeping the UK – paint, hide and find a rock.

We are adding messages to our pink rocks about keeping the beach clean and are hoping to hide them at various local beaches. If you find one and are encouraged to pick up beach litter, contact us and let us know.

We are also doing some activities on Monday, May 28, at the Puffin Festival, from the community beach hut.

We regularly see people of all ages picking up plastic and other rubbish from the beaches and streets. On Sunday, April 22, 43 people turned out to help clean Amble beach. It was really good to see whole families out.

Visitors to our area are also getting involved, and when we go on holiday, we are going to do the same and help others.

Alnwick Area Friends of the Earth raised the issue of roadside litter at a council meeting. We fully endorse their concerns. The idea of a campaign involving children to design an anti-littering poster is brilliant.

Our next beach clean will be at Amble on Sunday, June 3, at 2pm. We’ll meet at the car park opposite Amble caravan park. Get in touch on FaceBook under LitterBugs, or email litterbugsnorthumberland@gmail.com