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Plastic-Eating Caterpillar May Clean Environment, According To New Discovery [VIDEO]

Update Date: Apr 26, 2017 07:10 PM EDT
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We've made 9.1 billion tonnes of plastic since it was invented – here's where it ends up
Plastic-eating Caterpillar
Researchers recently discovered a plastic-eating caterpillar that may be helpful to the environment. (Photo : Getty Images / China Photos)

Researchers recently discovered that a plastic-eating caterpillar may be able to help the environment. This parasitic larva is capable of ingesting polyethylene plastic and may reduce the amount of plastic on Earth in the future.

What Is This Caterpillar?

This new research was done on waxworms, as the plastic-eating caterpillar has been published in the journal, Current Biology. It is indicated that the plastic bags used each day can be lessened by the waxworms.

These worms are usually used a fish baits but this time, researchers believe that they may have a thing to do for the environment. This discovery has been accidental when Spanish biologist Federica Bertocchini was tending on her beehives.

Bertocchini removed the plastic-eating caterpillar from her beehives and placed it in a plastic bag. She then, later on, saw that the plastic bag had been full of holes. She then realized that there are similar characteristics with the hives and plastic, as reported by The Huffington Post.

The researchers tested the worms by giving the waxworms 100 plastic bags. In just a few minutes, the worms already dug holes on the plastic and eventually ate them up. Bertocchini shared that the researchers are going to bring this study to the environment, hoping that the plastic-eating caterpillar will help reduce the plastic wastes in the environment.

What Could be Done Next?

Meanwhile, there is still a lot to learn, as to how the plastic-eating caterpillar would break down the plastic into pieces. However, this is already a great start in helping the Earth get rid of unwanted wastes, as reported by CNN.

Polyethylene plastic is a type of waste that cannot be degraded. There is a lot of this everywhere and this may cause some unpleasant things to the environment. This latest discovery of the plastic-eating caterpillar can bring in more ways in order to keep the environment clean and green.

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