Irish Teen Removes Microplastics in Water

Removing microplastics in water is a colossal challenge

Microplastics pose huge threat to our planet, and they’re everywhere. Along with being in the air and soil, microplastics in the ocean harm marine animals and humans. Removing microplastics in water is a colossal challenge, but thankfully, a new solution is here.

This new solution comes from teenager and winner of Google’s Science Fair contest, Fiann Ferreira. Both practical and highly effective, Ferreira’s microplastic harvesting method is exactly what our planet needs. At OkStraw Paper Straws, we can’t wait to see Ferreira’s method take to the waters, and fight this microplastic menace.

Microplastics: Why They're Terrible

We at OkStraw Paper Straws talk about macroplastics like plastic straws, and they’re certainly a big problem. However,  microplastics are a lurking threat, and they’re literally everywhere. In fact, scientists regularly find microplastics in the most unexpected places, like the Arctic Circle. While they’re less than 5mm in size, microplastics are a Goliath that we must confront.

 

Microplastics can come from microbeads in body washes, fibers from clothes, and even foodware like plastic straws. Unlike sustainable paper straws, plastic straws never biodegrade, and break down into microplastics. People ingest microplastics from either eating fish that swallowed them, or by drinking contaminated water. If we don’t want microplastics in our bodies, then we need to get them out of the water.

 

Ferreira's Magnetic Success

Scientists and engineers introduced a number solutions to remove microplastics from water. The Ocean Cleanup Device shows promise, but is there another way to harvest microplastics? As of July, that answer is a resounding yes, and it comes from 18-year-old Fionn Ferreira. 

A teenager from Ireland, Ferreira created a “ferrofluid” by mixing biodegradable vegetable oil and magnetite powder. This ferrofluid attached itself to microplastics in the water, making them magnetic. Ferreria then used a powerful magnet to draw out these magnetized microplastics. The results were astounding, with an 87% success rate! Ferreira certainly impressed the judges at Google’s Science Fair, who awarded him first place price, and a cool $50,000.

How You Can Stop Microplastics

Ferreira’s method is real winner, because it’s both effective and practical. Afterall, what good is a solution if we can’t put it to use? We at OkStraw Paper Straws believe that thanks to Fionn Ferreira, the battle against microplastics is halfway over. Why do we at OkStraw Paper Straws say “halfway over”, though? Well, if we want to end microplastic waste, then we need to stop making more of it. 

If we cut out single-use plastics, then there will be far few microplastics in the ocean. Biodegradable alternatives are a great solution, but they weren’t always that good. All of that changed, however, thanks to innovative companies like OkStraw Paper Straws. Today, you can get paper straws that outperform their plastic counterparts.

Paper Straws for a Plastic-Free Ocean

Biodegradable paper straws do far more than just save sea turtles and fish. Unlike plastic straws, biodegradable paper reintegrate into the ecosystem. This solves the problem of microplastics in water. Swicthing from plastic to paper straws helps fight climate change. By now, it should be clear how you can help Mr. Ferreira fight waterborne microplastics. 

Cut out as many single-use plastics as you can, and switch to biodegradable paper and reusable alternatives. If we want to support brilliant people like Fionn Ferreira, then we shouldn’t create more messes to clean up. At OkStraw Paper Straws, we salute Mr. Ferreira for his innovative solution to finally solve our microplastic crisis.

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