PM pledges £60m package to fight plastic pollution at CHOGM

PM pledges £60m package to fight plastic pollution at CHOGM

PM pledges £60m package to fight plastic pollution at CHOGM

Two scientists have accidentally stumbled upon an organic enzyme that can eat some of our worst polluting plastics, providing a possible solution to what is arguably one of the world's biggest environmental problems.

Bottles made from PET are used to package 70 per cent of soft drinks, fruit juices and water sold in shops, restaurants and supermarkets.

The discovery by researchers in the United Kingdom and USA could result in a recycling solution for millions of tonnes of plastic bottles and food containers made of polyethylene terephthalate, known as PET.

"The amended rules lay down that the phasing out of Multilayered Plastics (MLP) is now applicable to MLPs that are non-recyclable, or non-energy recoverable, or with no alternate use", the statement said.

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In addition, £20m will be earmarked to tackle plastic and other environmental pollution generated in developing countries.

Ever hopeful: Prof John McGeehan at work in his laboratory. "Being able to see the inner workings of this biological catalyst provided us with the blueprints to engineer a faster and more efficient enzyme".

AN ENZYME that gobbles up plastic could be the answer to the world's recycling headache, say British scientists.

The team set out to determine how the enzyme evolved and if it might be possible to improve it.

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"That's really exciting because that means that there's potential to optimise the enzyme even further".

Professor McGeehan, Director of the Institute of Biological and Biomedical Sciences in the School of Biological Sciences said: 'Few could have predicted that since plastics became popular in the 1960s huge plastic waste patches would be found floating in oceans, or washed up on once pristine beaches all over the world.

Finding the enzyme was helping a bacteria to break down, or digest, PET plastic, the researchers chose to "tweak" its structure by adding amino acids, said John McGeehan, a professor at Portsmouth who co-led the work.

"Although the improvement is modest, this unanticipated discovery suggests that there is room to further improve these enzymes, moving us closer to a recycling solution for the ever-growing mountain of discarded plastics", McGeehan said.

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They began by using a synchrotron at the Diamond Light Source facility in the United Kingdom, which allows them to see individual atoms inside the structure of the enzyme by blasting them with beams of X-ray light 10 billion times brighter than the sun.

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