Plastic waste is a growing concern, and recycling is the only option at the present time. Indian scientists—Dr Premanjali Rai and Dr Kunwar P Singh from the Environmental Chemistry Division of the CSIR Indian Institute of Toxicology Research in Lucknow—have found that decontamination of water can be done with the use of plastic waste. They have used plastic waste to develop a low-cost magnetically-responsive adsorbent material that can be used to remove an antibiotic cephalexin from water.
The indiscriminate burning of plastic results in emission of deadly gases and carcinogens into the environment. Dumping them in landfills results in leaching of toxins into ground and surface water resources. Scientists have formulated an effective strategy of upcycling polyethylene terephthalate (PET) waste into a functional material to mitigate another critical environmental problem -the emerging levels of antibiotics in water.
This newly developed low-cost magnetic nanomaterial has the absorptive potential for cephalexin from the water. The minimal adsorbent dose of 0.4 gram per liter could remove greater than half of the initial cephalexin concentration under laboratory conditions.
This technique of magnetic separation for spent adsorbent decreases the secondary pollution problems associated with the non-magneto active adsorbents. The newly-developed adsorbents have considerable desorption potential and can be reused. These advantages make it an efficient adsorbent for removal of emerging micropollutants. These findings will prompt to develop more innovative strategies for non-biodegradable waste management.