This 6th grader has invented an underwater device that detects ocean microplastics
12-year-old Anna Du was visiting Boston harbor one day when she saw small pieces of plastic in the sand. She was appalled to see the entire beach littered with such tiny bits of plastic that “it just seemed impossible to clean it all up.”
The 6th grader, who also happens to be an animal lover, decided to do something about it as she knew that all that plastic would eventually end up in the oceans and harm the precious marine life.
So she came up with an underwater device that uses light to detect harmful pollution in the ocean – or, a “Smart Infrared Based ROV to Identify and Remove Microplastics from Marine Environments” – and it does so without harming living organisms.
Anna chose to use infrared in her ROV device because it can help scientists distinguish microplastics from other, nonhazardous materials underwater without having to send samples to a lab.
The young genius has been selected as one of the 10 finalists for the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge for her invention.