The fishing industry is estimated to contribute half of the plastic waste in our oceans. Fishing lines can take up to 600 years to biodegrade, so researchers at Cornell University are investigating a type of plastic that could biodegrade under UV light exposure.
The type of plastic is called isotactic polypropylene oxide and its origin dates back to 1949. The team has been experimenting with its composition for 15 years to create a compound that has optimal mechanical strength but degrades quickly.
The result is a product that holds up to commercial fishing standards but reduces down to ¼ of its length after 30 days of UV exposure.
Earlier this week we talked about how sea life is rebounding during COVID-19 in much the same way as it did during the World Wars. If this innovative new fishing line can be produced in a large-scale, cost-effective way, it could be a solution for reducing commercial fishing from polluting our seas and continuing this marine health trend.