According to researchers at the Florida Institute of Technology, placing thousands of individual bag bottle caps at specific locations throughout the Indus Lagoon can help offset excess nitrogen that fuels harmful algae growth.
The cap does not enter the lagoon directly, but is contained in a treatment system similar to a giant aquarium filter. If proved to be effective and safe, they can enter the rainwater baffle box, in the canal, or even at the dock for a day, to collect the wreckage.
This novel solution may be found in the lowest residual waste generated by the society that we throw away in an annoying overdose-plastic bottle caps. This is the brainchild of Austin Fox and Abbey Gering, who sought new ways to breathe fresh ecological air into our lagoon.
FIT Assistant Professor of Marine Engineering and Marine Science Fox and his graduate student Gering discovered that a bag of thousands of bottle caps can serve as an effective home base for “good” bacteria to remove excess nitrogen from the water, reducing the threat of toxic algae blooms. .
More: We know how to deal with rainwater runoff into the Indus lagoon. Let’s make it happen | Opinion
They say that in times of economic hardship (no matter where in the world), their unique, simple solution is an inexpensive way to help clean natural waterways while eliminating those pesky plastic-covered landfills.
So far, their concept has been limited to laboratory pilot projects, but they envisaged that they will eventually use mesh bags with thousands of caps. This is the result of the joint efforts of community members, similar to those created by Brevard Zoo and Central The Oyster Pad Project at the University of Florida.
They are looking for a filter medium with a large surface area, in which the bacteria will have enough space to grow, have the best absorption conditions and make nitrogen harmless.
When bacteria have a large surface area to grow and the oxygen level is right, they are good at converting nitrogen in water into gas form, which is harmlessly discharged into the atmosphere. This is what happens to the so-called plastic “bioballs” used in household fish tank filters and aquaculture.
So Fox and Green thought, “Why not in the lagoon? Then they thought, “Why buy new plastic bioballs when there is free plastic everywhere around us?” “”
People generally think that plastics are harmful to the marine environment because they fall off when they degrade. But Fox said that the type of plastic used in the bottle cap does not contain harmful chemicals, such as bisphenol A (BPA), and the cap does not enter the lagoon directly.
Like the bioballs in the aquarium filter, the plastic cover will be included in the treatment system. He said that this work will also be carefully monitored to ensure that it will not cause adverse effects on the environment.
Studies have shown that what happened in the landfill site, the University of Florida Grant at the University of Florida at Buninel, agent Maya McGuire is still wondering whether the unknowns and other bacteria will degrade plastic over time.
McGuire said: “I think we know very little about the behavior of plastics in the marine environment.” “I think I really like the idea of ​​diverting things from the waste stream instead of buying biospheres.”
This is part of Fox’s point: there are no treatment systems for natural water, and although they are usually recyclable, bottle caps are usually not.
Fox and Green said there is little concern about plastic degradation. Ultraviolet rays degrade the plastics and the bottle caps will be submerged, making it difficult for a large amount of ultraviolet rays to hit them.
They say that a “biofilm” of bacterial mucus will form on the bottle cap to further protect the plastic from UV rays. And the bottle cap bags will be monitored to ensure that the plastic will not degrade and the bag will maintain its integrity.
In their FIT laboratory, Fox and Gering pumped water into a large tank full of bottle caps, and measured how much nitrogen the bacteria convert into harmless gases that make up most of our atmosphere.
They plan to place bottle cap bags in important locations throughout the lagoon basin, especially the canals, rainwater baffle boxes that capture the wreckage before it reaches the lagoon, and maybe even transfer it to other places one day even at the owner’s wharf on the waterfront . The bacteria accumulated in the lagoon help to purify the water.
“This is an interesting concept,” said Duane De Freese, executive director of the Indus Lagoon National Estuary Program. “Scaling is always a challenge: can you scale to where it really has an impact? … the key should be harmless.”
Fox and Gering believe they can scale up and avoid any ecological hazards. They said their laboratory results showed that more than 80% of nitrogen was removed from the water within 24 hours.
Fox said: “If this is right, I think we can scale up.” He said that he fully agrees with DeFrees’ ecological reference to the Hippocratic oath of being “harmless.”
Fox said that each mesh bag requires thousands of caps. Therefore, he and Gering hope that citizen-driven efforts to collect caps-including Breva Zoo, schools, and local government-can help reach the necessary scale to significantly reduce the excess nitrogen in the lagoon.
She added: “It’s great for the community to come together and get involved.” “It’s also a great way for everyone to track their plastic consumption.”
Fox said bottle caps are part of FIT’s multifaceted effort to improve the water quality of the lagoon, but their work also has global significance.
He firmly believes that, first of all-and again-they vowed not to hurt themselves and their healing system will continue to be controlled.
FIT hopes you can collect bottle caps for their lagoon project. For information or donation limit, please contact Abbey Gering at

Post time: Dec-18-2020