Scientists find microplastics everywhere they look. But a new type of sponge could help pull them out of water. Vinayak Dravid, a materials science and engineering professor at Northwestern University says, The basic idea is that we have an affinity coating that acts as a glue, and it attracts the pollutant. Dravid, who co-founded a spin-off company called MFNS Tech to commercialize the oil-absorbing sponges, envisions users placing the plastic-attracting sponge into laundry machines to capture tiny threads of polyester or acrylic before they wash down the drain. People could also deploy the sponges in drains where storm water is dumped into lakes or rivers or the ocean. With his startup, he aims to make use of old kitchen sponges that consumers would otherwise discard; the coating could also be used on foam and other materials. In the water, a net filled with different sponges could attract several pollutants at once.

Read Full Story