5-speed listening (Plastic-Eating Worm - Level 4)

Plastic-eating worm could remove the world's waste






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A natural answer to plastic waste may be near. Researchers found that a tiny caterpillar called a waxworm likes to eat plastic. The waxworm eats plastic at "uniquely high speeds". Scientists could use millions of waxworms as an environmentally-friendly solution to global waste. Waxworms could eat the trillions of plastic bags, bottles, household items and other waste that end up in the ground around the world each year. They take centuries to biodegrade.

A researcher said: "It's extremely…exciting because breaking down plastic has proved so challenging." Waxworms break down very tough plastics more than 1,400 times faster than other insects. They use their saliva to digest the plastic. It might be possible to copy this and spray it on waste to break it down. Another researcher said this, "could be a solution to save our oceans, rivers, and all the environment from the unavoidable consequences of plastic accumulation".

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