These Ontario students may have figured out how to rid the great lakes of microbeads

(Photo: Maham Abedi)

The Great Lakes are polluted with innumerable microbeads, miniscule pieces of plastic most commonly found in hygiene products such as toothpastes, face washes and body scrubs. Just half a millimetre, they’re too small to be picked up by most filtration systems.

To try to end this micropolution, Nine Grade 11 and 12 students at Gordon Graydon Memorial Secondary School in Mississauga, Ont. are working on a world-changing solution: they’ve spent 7 months designing a filtration system they think would catch mircobeads before they enter the water.

After weeks of research, strict deadlines, and meetings with environmental groups and politicians, they came up with their prototype: a half-pipe, divided with one vertical and one horizontal grid, that would be placed at the end of existing sewage filtration systems.

A 3D model of filtration system created by Ontario high school students (Photo: Maham Abedi)


Thus, water would flowt hrough it, and microbeads and other microplastics not caught by existing systems would be negatively charged using electricity as they pass through the vertical grid inside the pipe.

The second horizontal grid would have a positive charge and sit slightly above water level. The opposite charges would attract the microbeads upwards and hold them. This would keep the beads from flowing into the lakes along with water.

An animation created by students shows their concept in action

The second portion would be detachable, allowing companies to clean and replace it after it fills up with waste.

In March, the students group was one of 11 finalists in the Canada-wide Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competition and won $20,000. Now the group is trying to snatch one of the competition’s two top prizes of $50,000, that would surely help them to develop their invention.

Source: The Huffington Post Canada


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