An 18 year old student from West Cork, Ireland, has been awarded $50,000 at the Google Science Fair for his revolutionary project.
Fionn Ferreira, won the competition for his methodology to remove microplastics from water. Microplastics have proven to be extremely troublesome for the environment as they are very small, making them virtually impossible to remove through filtration. This leads to a much larger issue that impacts fish and human beings, as small fish are known to eat microplastics and those fish are eaten by the larger fish that humans then eat. Microplastics are known to be exfoliating for the skin, and are therefore often included in soaps, shower gels and facial scrubs. They can also come off our clothes during laundry.
Founded by Google in 2011, the Google Science Fair encourages students ages 13 through 18 to submit their experiments in front of a panel of judges. The competition is sponsored by giants such as National Geographic, Lego, Virgin Galactic and Scientific American.
After being put through 1,000 tests, the method was proven to 87% effective in removing microplastics from water. Fionn’s goal is to have this method implemented at all wastewater treatment facilities, which would prevent the microplastics from reaching waterways and the ocean, thus decreasing the risk of humans consuming them through fish.
However, the ideal case scenario is that we all make a conscious effort to reduce the microplastics we use, so are plastic pollution is our ocean is a major worldwide threat. Here’s are three things you can do to reduce your microplastic consumption:
- Reduce your use of single-use plastics
- Recycle properly
- Avoid products containing microbeads
It sounds small, but if everyone globally took these steps, it would make a huge difference to our beautiful Earth and help to preserve it for future generations. I’d love to hear more about what you do to reduce plastic pollution and if any of you have any suggestions! Together we can protect our planet.