While governmental officials from around the world and IPCC are gathered in Berlin to discuss ways to reduce the future impact of climate change, scientists are looking for ways to tackle various problems that have already emerged over the past decade as a consequence of raising temperatures, coupled with excess nutrients and pollution.
Such problem is the extensive occurrence of invasive species in the world’s oceans, and more precisely, the over-population of jellyfish. These are capable of killing entire fish communities, clogging nuclear plant’s and desalination plant’s cooling water systems. An Israeli start-up, called Cine’al, have found a solution to the problem, by turning jellyfish into eco-friendly diapers and super-absorbing polymers.
It almost sounds wrong to talk about turning an animal into something like paper towels, medical sponges and diapers, but I guess this could be the only way to cope with the migration and over-population of species. Although jellyfish, in reasonable amounts, play an important role in controlling other sea-animals populations. When present in excessive numbers, these beautiful, almost see-through creatures, made of 95% water and that have no brain, become pests and pose severe and numerous threats (take a look at the picture above).
In areas such as Israel, Sweden, parts of the U.S. and the coast of the Black Sea, the over-population of jellyfish has already become out of hands. This is why research and innovations that propose means to deal with the issue have been particularity welcome by governments.
Israeli start-up Cine’al, not only found a way to make use of the invasive species, but also proposed a neat strategy to deal with pollution from non-biodegradable synthetics that end up in land fills. Using nanotechnology, the team made a new product out of jellyfish, which has super high absorbency and takes only around a month to break down. It is particularly suitable for making diapers and towels, which are not only used in huge quantities, but also are made of materials that will remain in the environment for quite some years to come.
The highly-absorbent product is called ‘hydromash‘. It is flexible, it is strong, it is dry and it is eco-friendly, which makes it the perfect synthetic material replacement. Unfortunately, products made out of it are not yet found in stores, and chances are, as it is the case with many of these great ideas, it would not make it to the shelves any time soon. But the idea is definitely worth exploring, especially when we don’t know what else we might have to deal with as temperatures continue to increase.
Image (c) The Noun Project