April 18, 2018

Contact: Douglas Cornell


A recent accidental discovery of a plastic-eating microbe was predicted at least three years ago by Corunna, Michigan author Douglas Cornell.  In Monday’s The Guardian, the article, Scientists Accidentally Create Mutant Enzyme that Eats Plastic Bottles, reported that “the discovery of plastic-eating bugs at a Japanese dump could help solve the global plastic pollution crisis.” The article further explains that Scientists in Japan are working to speed-up the plastic-eating enzyme in order to advance plastic recycling or clean up the plastic waste floating in the world’s lakes and oceans.

Cornell, who in February of 2018 published his novel, Plastipocalypse, says that he was the first person to come up with the idea of a global crisis caused by the sudden and complete disintegration of plastics.

“About three years ago, while riding my carbon-fiber bicycle dressed in lycra shorts and shirt, I realized that it was within the realm of possibility that an out-of-control science experiment to clean up plastic would suddenly render me without transportation – because carbon-fiber is essentially plastic. It didn’t take long before I also concluded that I’d be naked, since most modern clothing is made from synthetic materials that are also derived from plastics.”

Cornell began to write his thesis in the form of a novel, using a fictitious Mid-Michigan family as the story’s main characters. In the book, an out-of-control experiment causes plastic to degrade, dissolve, and turn into dangerous gasses over the course of just a few days.

“The book’s characters don’t really know what’s causing plastic to breakdown,” Cornell explains. “The grid goes down during the first 24 hours of the catastrophe, and there is no response by the police or government. People realize they do not know how to live as our grandparents lived just 80 years ago. When you consider how ubiquitous plastic is in our modern world, it becomes mind-boggling. Food storage, eyeglasses, building materials, and even pill coatings use plastics.”

Cornell said he actually does hope to see the day when scientists find a way to rid the planet of waste plastic. “It’s not uncommon to find plastic water bottles floating along the shorelines of Michigan’s Great Lakes. It is disheartening to see this pollution. If scientists are able to solve this problem safely, I am all for it.”

Plastipocalypse is available at Amazon.com.


Source: The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/16/scientists-accidentally-create-mutant-enzyme-that-eats-plastic-bottles?CMP=share_btn_fb)


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