Sometime ago The Atlantic published a very interesting article about plastic eating caterpillars, that were discovered because they made holes in plastic bags by dissolving them. Suddenly it seemed like nature had provided a solution to the monstrous man made plastic crisis and may be it has.
But as this article claims we cant just let the bugs loose on overflowing landfills of plastic. otherwise we may create a new problem for bees. However one does not have to let these bugs loose on the landfills as the article says. We can study the,m to see how they digest plastic an artificially create the process. Nature has given us a useful hint, the article says and the rest is up to our ingenuity.
On the other hand, a German study has poked a bigger hole (forgive the irresistible pun) in the plastic crisis solution. Their claim is, that the caterpillar may not actually be degrading the plastic so to speak, so much as nibbling and excreting it, as is.
If any of this will help, remains to be seen. But we need to keep looking for solutions, even if this particular one does not work out, as the plastic problem is not going anywhere all by itself! Perhaps there are no short cuts, and we just need to cut down our use of plastics and find alternatives.
Lavanya has depicted these caterpillars to be true superheroes saving the planet. You can read her post here.