Chloroflurocarbons, smog, heavy metal poisoning, oil spills, systematic destruction og the ozone layer, landfills, deforestation, acid rain, air pollution, eutrophication, industrial waste, natural resource depletion, radioactive waste, littering and GLOBAL WARMING. This is a very, tiny list of all the damage that human beings have managed to inflict upon the Earth, in the (relatively) extremely short time that we have actually been on this planet. The list is endless, and we have been endlessly informed about the consequences of our species’ choices. Increased awareness about these issues are essential, and we need to see change and reform. And while these issue are nowhere near being resolved (or even accepted/acknowledged in some cases…..yes Republicans, I am looking at you) – I wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate a relatively recent innovation that is a huge leap in the right, not-end-of-the-world direction.
Oil spills are one of the worst, if not the worst kind of marine pollution. They can lead to sever disruption of marin life and the marine ecosystem, and the worse its effects can linger for years as there has been no easy or inexpensive way to clean up oil spills. However in recent years, there has been increased research in this field, and scientists appear to be coming up with promising solutions. Here is a list of just a few such solutions
- Cleaning up oil spills with magnet and nanotechnology
– “MIT researchers researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)say they have found a method of recovering oil after a spill using magnets, potentially saving companies like BP money in clean up bills. On it’s own, oil is not magnetic, but MIT researchers say that when mixed with water-repellent nanoparticles that contain iron, the oil can be magnetically separated from the water. The nanoparticles can later be removed to enable the re-use of the oil.” – http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/21/tech/oil-spill-magnets/
- Smart filter that uses gravity, not chemicals, to separate out oil – “
Researchers at the University of Michigan believe that they have developed a next generation oil cleanup technology that could forgo chemicals and could cleanup water through gravity instead. The smart filter technology is able to essentially strain the oil from the water because of a novel nanomaterial coating that repels oil, but attracts water” – http://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/smart-filter-technology-could-help-clean-oil-spills.html .
- Oil trapping mesh –
“The newest innovation in oil spill clean up is this oil-trapping meshdeveloped by researchers at Ohio State University. The stainless steel mesh stops oil, but allows water to go through and its design was inspired by the lotus leaf.Lotus leaves are covered in tiny bumps that are tipped with even tinier hairs, which cause water to bead up and roll off when it lands on the surface – oil, however, isn’t affected in the same manner. The scientists altered the design of the mesh so that oil was repelled, but water was not.” – https://news.osu.edu/news/2015/04/15/oilnano/