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Synthetic Bacteria Could Turn Ocean Garbage into One Big Island

Entrepreneurial students from University College London are striving to create tropical paradises made from ocean garbage. The aim of the project is to collect tiny pieces of plastic trash floating in the ocean, then stick them all together to create islands of artificial habitat.

Photo: Plastic Republic

Entrepreneurial students from University College London are striving to create tropical paradises made from ocean garbage. The aim of the project is to collect tiny pieces of plastic trash floating in the ocean, then stick them all together to create islands of artificial habitat.

“After months of planning, we are now rallying to construct a ‘plastic island’ using the principles of synthetic biology. In so doing we hope to provide a solution to one of the world’s major environmental problems – the North Pacific Garbage Patch,” the students write.

The idea, basically, is to create bacteria that identify bits of plastic and either “aggregate” those bits by creating “sticky extensions of cell membrane” or degrade them, if they’re not prone to sticking together. Help the students crowd fund their project and earn yourself a place in future plastic island paradise.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Oceans of Plastic 

Would You Pay for a Plastic Bag? 

 

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