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Plastic Free Delhi through “Plogging”, Promised EU And India

Swedish fitness trend to clean delhi

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Plastic Free Delhi through
Plastic Free Delhi through "Plogging" Promised EU And India, Pixabay
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Indian and EU runners jogged around India Gate and kept picking up litter around the iconic monument to make a pledge for a clean and plastic free Delhi by “plogging” — a Swedish fitness trend that combines running with collecting garbage.

The event on Friday was organised by the Embassy of Sweden here and a group of ploggers of India together with the European Union ahead of the World Environment Day on June 5.

Running
Joggers also love to run on plastic-free roads. Pixabay

It was part of the European Union’s series of environmental programmes in India.

The EU delegation and missions of European Union member states in New Delhi with the support of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change co-hosted a Conference on Plastic Pollution and Management – Sharing Best Practices at Vigyan Bhawan on Friday.

The theme of the conference organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries was in line with this year’s theme – ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’.

The EU ambassador to India Tomasz Kozlowski congratulated India for its leadership in dealing with environmental issues globally. “India is a key partner of the EU with partnerships on clean energy and climate change, water, smart and sustainable urbanization, air quality and resource efficiency,” said by Kozlowski.

Runners collecting garbage
Runners collecting garbage, Pixabay

Taking the cooperation to the next level, the Ambassador said, EU Commissioner for Environment would lead a delegation of about 50 EU businesses to India in September as part of the CII Sustainability Summit.

Also read:Green coffee weight loss regime

On June 5, the EU delegation and the embassies of the EU member states are expected to announce and adopt a “green pledge” aimed at reducing increased pollution levels by eliminating the use of single-use plastic products, saving energy through bio-gas and other technologies which India has also used previously, water resources and managing waste, managing increased greenhouse gases (CFCs, Carbondi-oxide, nitrogen etc.) and industrial pollution. (IANS)

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Plastics Can Be Eaten By Enzymes And Reduce Pollution

The enzyme is able to digest polyethylene terephthalate

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Packs of flattened polyethylene terephthalate (or PET) bottles are carried into a depot before being pulverized as part of a recycling process at Tokyo PET Bottle Recycle Co. in Tokyo, Aug. 13, 2002. Researchers in Britain and the United States have engineered an enzyme that breaks down such plastics.
Packs of flattened polyethylene terephthalate (or PET) bottles are carried into a depot before being pulverized as part of a recycling process at Tokyo PET Bottle Recycle Co. in Tokyo, Aug. 13, 2002. Researchers in Britain and the United States have engineered an enzyme that breaks down such plastics. VOA

Scientists in Britain and the United States say they have engineered a plastic-eating enzyme that could help in the fight against pollution.

The enzyme is able to digest polyethylene terephthalate, or PET — a form of plastic patented in the 1940s and now used in millions of tons of plastic bottles. PET plastics can persist for hundreds of years in the environment and currently pollute large areas of land and sea worldwide.

Researchers from Britain’s University of Portsmouth and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory made the discovery while examining the structure of a natural enzyme thought to have evolved in a waste-recycling center in Japan.

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

This led to a serendipitous change in the enzyme’s actions — allowing its plastic-eating abilities to work faster.

“We’ve made an improved version of the enzyme better than the natural one already,” McGeehan told Reuters in an interview.

“That’s really exciting because that means that there’s potential to optimize the enzyme even further.”

The team, whose finding was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, is now working on improving the enzyme further to see if it could be capable of breaking down PET plastics on an industrial scale.

Plastic pollution
Plastic pollution, Pixabay

“It’s well within the possibility that in the coming years we will see an industrially viable process to turn PET, and potentially other [plastics], back into their original building blocks so that they can be sustainably recycled,” McGeehan said.

‘Strong potential’

Independent scientists not directly involved with the research said it was exciting, but cautioned that the enzyme’s development as a potential solution for pollution was still at an early stage.

“Enzymes are non-toxic, biodegradable and can be produced in large amounts by microorganisms,” said Oliver Jones, a Melbourne University chemistry expert. “There is strong potential to use enzyme technology to help with society’s growing waste problem by breaking down some of the most commonly used plastics.”

Douglas Kell, a professor of bioanalytical science at Manchester University, said further rounds of work “should be expected to improve the enzyme yet further.”

Also read: Ayushmann Khurana speaks against plastic pollution

“All told, this advance brings the goal of sustainably recyclable polymers significantly closer,” he added. (VOA)