Jellyfish, Mangroves, and how Bioengineering can solve the Freshwater Crisis


Remember how we were able to make rabbits glow in the dark? Well, now, that’s not all that can be done with this new field called bioengineering!

Bioengineering is a relatively new branch in science that combines traditional engineering fields with biology. This discipline enables us to do all sorts of things, from printing new organs, to fighting diseases with nanorobots! Dealing with genes and the manipulation of the characteristics of organisms, bioengineering has the potential to help humankind in dealing with the incoming problems it might face––– including the incoming freshwater crisis!


What is the fresh water crisis?


Most people don’t know that although the Earth is 70% water, only 3% of that water is freshwater and that two-thirds of that 3% is frozen in glaciers unavailable for our use.

As a result, 1.1 billion people worldwide lack access to water, and a total of 2.7 billion people find water scarce for at least one month of the year.

Overconsumption due to the rising population is inevitable and studies say that by 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population may face water shortages.


So how does bioengineering fit into this picture?





In the “Reimagining Climate Change” exhibition of the Museum of the Future of Dubai, Dubai has revealed its plans for combatting the water crisis that climate change and overconsumption will bring. They are researching and creating a hybrid between a jellyfish and a mangrove plant that can automatically desalinate water for the citizens of Dubai to use.


These bio-desalination plants” combine the genes of a jellyfish and mangrove roots, one of the best plant desalinators on the planet.


They plan on using the salt extracted from these desalination “factories” for batteries, another one of their exports. What an innovative way to ensure nothing goes to waste right?


Bioengineering has received its fair share of criticism as some people have questioned the ethics and implications of manipulating the genes of other beings and organisms. However, the potential in this technology is truly undeniable!


With time, we will hopefully be able to come to terms with the ethics side of things and be able to attain a good compromise. Bioengineering has the potential to improve the lives of so many people and the potential to save the world we’re living in. It’s a new field, so we are barely scratching the surface for what bioengineering can truly give us. I hope this article from an aspiring bioengineer herself, has led you to take interest in this truly amazing field! It has a lot of potential, and I encourage young the young STEM students that might be reading this to join it with me!





Sources:


https://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/inventions/dubais-crazy-apocalyptic-vision-for-the-future/news-story/741e1b0221217534c5cb1108b9dc3be2


https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/water-scarcity


http://bioeng.berkeley.edu/about-us/what-is-bioengineering


Picture Sources:


https://www.tellart.com/projects/museum-of-the-future-climate-change-reimagined/index.html

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