'Use sea drones': how can engineers tackle the problem of plastic pollution?

Professional Engineering

(Credit: Shutterstock)
(Credit: Shutterstock)

Plastic pollution in seas and landfill is under more focus than ever, thanks to an increasing awareness of its volume and impact. We asked our readers how engineers can help tackle the problem.

"Commercially attractive biodegradable alternatives must be the target."

Ann Cooper


"How about a plastic that degrades quickly in both a salt and anaerobic environment?" 

Simon Glover

"Use sea drones to hoover up the plastic and then enzymes to destroy what cannot be recycled."

Peter Airey

"Develop efficient means to recycle all plastics and introduce schemes that encourage recycling."

John Saunders

"Until the notion of a throwaway society is changed, pollutants will continue to accumulate."

Steve Richards

"Reprocess plastics so no new plastics need to be produced. Our planet needs a future where plastics are self-sustaining, not banned completely."

Jane Evans

"By substituting plastics with other materials which are biodegradable – cardboard or paper."

Dan Fuller

"We must stop the materials entering the chain. This needs a mindset change by the public."  

Matthew Waterhouse

"Reduce the variety of plastics in single-use packaging, only permitting those that are easy to recycle."

Keith Thomas

"Build combined-heat-and-power plants fuelled by waste, as happens at Runcorn which consumes 600,000 tonnes of Manchester’s waste each year."

David Odling

Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

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