Disney’s California Adventure and Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme parks both have an audio-animatronic and video theater show entitled “It’s Tough To Be a Bug”. One of the show’s messages is how essential bugs are to our world (“We’re Pollinators!”). Recently I’ve found another reason why bugs are so good to have around.
According to the April issue of the scientific journal Current Biology (http://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(17)30231-2 ), there is a caterpillar that can eat plastic. The Galleria mellonella, also known as the caterpillar of the wax moth, is the latest discovery of several plastic-eating organisms that could bail us out of a sticky environmental situation. We produce hundreds of millions of tons of plastic each year — no one knows for sure — with as much as eight million tons ending up in our oceans. So to clean up this mess, we need all the help we can get.
Other plastic-eating organisms include the Ideonella sakaiensis bacteria ( http://www.sci-news.com/biology/ideonella-sakaiensis-bacterium-can-break-down-metabolize-plastic-03693.html) and an Amazonian fungus. Hopefully, there will be more. Then maybe they can start fulfilling one of my childhood dreams — finding someone to clean up after me.