As members of the Global Wellness Community, each of us is aware of plastic waste. Fortunately, we are capable of decreasing our personal plastic waste. If each one of us committed to less consumption of plastic packaging, imagine the cumulative outcome for the world! One of the simplest ways is to stop buying and drinking water sold in plastic bottles. Here’s why that is so important.
One component of ocean pollution that’s especially threatening to not only ocean life forms but human life, is micro-plastics. When plastic pollution enters the ocean, large pieces are broken down over time by exposure to sea elements and become tiny particles. These particles, the estimated size of a 5mm sesame seed, break loose from the large “garbage patch” and spread throughout the ocean.
Depending on its density, some sink, some float, and some just hover in the water column. Because the plastic resembles food, it is eaten by a huge range of animals throughout the food chain, including fish, birds, turtles, whales, and even microscopic plankton, eventually working their way up to humans.1
Micro-plastics are extremely difficult to clean out of the ocean, and since they are so tiny, they travel far and wide, basically making their way to every ocean in the world. This is why most ocean anti-pollution projects, such as The Ocean Cleanup, focus on removing larger pieces of trash, before they can degrade.2
Remarkably, in 2019 a then 18-year-old named Fionn Ferreira, invented an effective new method for removing micro-plastics from the oceans. Ferreira was kayaking along the coast in Ballydehob, his hometown in West Cork, Ireland, when he came upon a rock coated in oil. Ferreira noticed that small bits of plastic were sticking to the oil-coated-rock. “In chemistry, like attracts like,” Ferreira noted. He decided to combine vegetable oil and magnetite powder to create a nontoxic ferrofluid, a “magnetic liquid,” or liquid that acts as a carrier for tiny magnetic particles—since ferrofluids and plastics attract when in the presence of water. Ferreira would add his ferrofluid to water samples full of micro-plastics, then remove the ferrofluid using a magnet, taking the micro-plastics with it. After hundreds of tests, Ferreira’s ferrofluid was able to successfully remove at least 87% of micro-plastics from the water samples.3
Since then, while pursuing a Chemistry degree at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, Fionn has established a company focused on micro-plastic removal technology. Early tests on ferrofluids as a tool for cleaning up oil spills have been promising, but Ferreira believes that the only true way to solve the massive problem of ocean pollution is to change our consumption habits.3
Fionn is part of the new generation of scientists that has never known life without plastic pollution. He and other innovative young scientists, such as Miranda Wang and Jeanny Yao who developed bacterium to transform plastic into carbon dioxide and water, are committed to restoring our oceans.
The KenkoAir Purifier®, PiMag Waterfall® and PiMag® Sport Bottle are durable filtration systems that can help us reuse, reduce and recycle. The filters are recyclable and help decrease our carbon footprint. For the remainder of January, you can take advantage of four special filter packs that give you a bonus item when you purchase a PiMag Waterfall® filter cartridge and a KenkoAir Purifier® HEPA filter in the same order.