Environment and Sustainability
Several of the SDGs relate to the natural environment and the need to sustainably manage natural resources such as water and land (SDG 6, SDG 14, SDG 15), and prevent further damage through use of responsible consumption and production (SDG 7, SDG 11, SDG 12, SDG 13).
Micro-organisms can provide solutions to several of these challenges. They are crucial to the bioeconomy and can be used to produce biofuels, bioplastics, biopesticides and biofertilisers, replacing the need for chemicals that are damaging to the environment. Micro-organisms they play crucial roles in the Earth’s biogeochemical cycles, both using and producing greenhouse gases responsible for climate change (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide). The ocean and soil microbiomes act as natural carbon sinks and could be targeted to further sequester carbon and mitigate the effects of anthropogenic climate change. In addition, bioremediation utilises microbes to degrade pollutants into non-toxic products combatting pollution.
Plastic waste is a major global challenge. It can take thousands of years to decompose and the majority is not recycled. It therefore accumulates in landfill and oceans, harming terrestrial and marine ecosystems, and has entered the human food chain which may have consequences for human health. Read our case study on bioplastics to learn more.
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to the environment and sustainability