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MaltaToday 7 December 2022 MIDWEEK

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15 maltatoday | WEDNESDAY • 7 DECEMBER 2022 NEWS Mokkapati and Kappagantulu created a greenhouse in a box that will help them weather a more turbulent climate. This pop-up greenhouse pro- tects crops from the elements during the worst weather and even provides irrigation. These portable and durable green- houses could avert ruin for mil- lions of farmers globally. A waste-free world: seaweed bioplastics, UK The 400 million tonnes of plastic made this year will eventually break down into microplastics – tiny fragments smaller than 5mm which find their way into the ocean, food, and even our blood. The world urgently needs an alternative to single-use plas- tic. In a student flat in London in 2012, Pierre Paslier and Rod- rigo Garcia Gonzalez resolved to develop one that was biode- gradable. They found a solu- tion in the ocean: seaweed. Seaweed grows incredibly fast – for some species, over 30cm a day – and as it grows, it absorbs carbon dioxide (CO₂) from the atmosphere. Conventional plastics are made from fossil fuels, so replacing them with bioplastic made from seaweed will also help reduce climate change. Paslier and Garcia Gonzalez have already made edible liquid sachets and take- away boxes. Reviving the ocean: indigenous rangers, Australia Indigenous people of Aus- tralia do not separate the land and sea, but instead, see them as one body – an insight that accurately captures how eco- systems are interconnected. The Queensland indigenous women's ranger network draws from more than 60,000 years of such traditional knowledge to conserve ecosystems and train others to do so too. The rangers rescue and re- habilitate species on the Great Barrier Reef, such as sea tur- tles that are caught in fishing nets or have ingested plastic. They also protect and restore seagrass meadows. These un- derwater meadows, composed of plants that flower and are pollinated like many of those on land, can bury carbon in the seabed much faster than tropi- cal rainforests. Fixing the climate: turning CO2 into rock, Oman Talal Hasan grew up in Oman with its pristine beaches, corals and desert. He was shocked to discover a dead zone about the size of Florida off the country's coast with little or no oxygen. As CO₂ emissions increase and the ocean warms, this lifeless zone is growing. Hasan teamed up with Profes- sor Juerg Matter of Southamp- ton University to capture CO₂ from the atmosphere, dissolve it in water and inject it into rocks underground where it re- acts with peridotite – a coarse rock found deep in Earth's mantle – to form a stable min- eral. This permanently removes carbon from the atmosphere. Oman has one of the world's largest deposits of peridotite and the process is much safer and cheaper than traditional approaches to storing carbon, which include pumping it into disused oil wells. help solve major environmental problems Above: Mukuru Clean Stoves designs, produces and distributes improved, reliable and affordable cook stoves for low income households Left: Seagrass also provides a stable diet for sea turtles

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