It is no secret that giant accumulations of plastic waste pose a serious threat to the ecosystem of the world's oceans. Scientists at the Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden) have developed a filter system that can trap tiny pieces of plastic before they end up in a natural body of water. Moreover, the filter destroys them using sunlight.
Ordinary sunlight breaks down plastics through a photocatalytic oxidation process. However, it lasts for many years. A team of Swedish scientists worked with PP Polymer AB to develop membranes that accelerate this process.
The membrane consists of nanoscale wires coated with a semiconductor material that absorbs visible sunlight and uses it to dispose of plastic particles. In practice, this filter system traps them in the water, and when sunlight hits the material, pollutants are broken down into water and CO 2.
System testing should begin this month. New filters will be installed in sewer pipes inside houses and at the final stage of cleaning in sewage treatment plants.