Sydney (Australia), Nov 30 – A group of scientists has developed a magnetic powder capable of removing microplastics from water in less than an hour, which, they say, would allow this residue to be eradicated more quickly and at a lower cost Australian academic sources report this Wednesday.
Researchers at RMIT University, in the city of Melbourne, affirm that their powder, made of nanomaterials and containing iron, manages to attract microplastics, without creating other polluting substances or leaving a carbon footprint.
This material, brown in color and made from recycled materials, is mixed with water that contains microplastics and after one hour -while other techniques take several hours or even days- allows the use of magnets to easily separate microplastics and polluting substances from the water. liquid element.
“Our powdered additive can remove microplastics that are 1,000 times smaller than those currently detectable by wastewater treatment plants,” said Nicky Eshtiaghi, leader of this research, in a statement.
The research, published in the Chemical Engineering Journal, says it has been successfully tested in the laboratory and now seeks to collaborate with industry to observe “its application in wastewater treatment plants.”
The RMIT scientists indicate that their substance could be a cost-effective alternative to reduce the millions of tons of plastic and microplastics that are dumped into the sea every year.
More than 80% of the garbage that ends up in the oceans is generated on land and one of the biggest contributors to this pollution is plastic, a substance that can take up to 450 years to decompose.
Although the presence of bottles, bags and other plastic products is visible in the water, particles smaller than five millimeters cannot be seen with the naked eye nor can they be eliminated by treatment plants, so they end up in the seas where they are harmful to marine organisms.