Speed Reading — Plastic-Eating Worm - Level 5 — 200 wpm

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A natural solution to the plastic waste crisis may be near. Researchers discovered that a tiny caterpillar, known as a waxworm, likes to eat plastic. Researchers from Cambridge University say the waxworm eats plastic at "uniquely high speeds". It could be possible to use this environmentally-friendly solution to global waste on a large scale. Millions of waxworms could be bred to break down and eat plastic bags, bottles, household items and other waste. About a trillion plastic bags end up in the ground around the world each year. They take centuries to biodegrade.

A researcher said: "It's extremely, extremely exciting because breaking down plastic has proved so challenging." He said the waxworm breaks down very tough plastics more than 1,400 times faster than other organisms. The waxworm uses enzymes in its saliva to digest the plastic. It might be possible to recreate these enzymes and spray them on waste to make it decompose. Another researcher said: "We are planning to implement this finding in a…way to get rid of plastic waste, working towards a solution to save our oceans, rivers, and all the environment from the unavoidable consequences of plastic accumulation."

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