• Reducing Ocean Microplastic Pollution

    "Without significant action, there may be more plastic than fish in the ocean, by weight, by 2050."(* 1) "80% of marine garbage comes from land."(* 2) We know that microplastic pollution is a serious human-created threat to the ocean. But when we start asking questions in order to problem-solve locally, we find that we do not know basic details, such as the types of microplastics in our rivers and how they get there. At Pirika, we have started to develop a method to capture samples of microplastics as they flow toward the sea. Rivers, ports, sewage plants -- every point of outflow has its own unique conditions. We invented Albatross as a flexible research device that can be used under all of these unique conditions. We believe that accurate understanding of specific local situations is the first step toward better problem-solving.

  • 都内の河川で採取したマイクロプラスチック

    Marine Plastic Pollution

    Plastic products we use in daily life escape into the ocean and destroy marine ecosystems.

     

    Instead of decomposing, plastic degrades into smaller and smaller fragments. When these fragments are size 5 mm or less, they are called microplastics. Even at micro size, these fragments are still plastic and they are just as much a form of litter as larger pieces.

     

    All sizes of plastic harm marine life. When marine organisms ingest microplastics, they can feel falsely full and reduce feeding. Microplastics accumulate in tissues and so are passed up the food chain. They are dangerous beyond their qualities as plastics because they can carry toxic chemicals into our bodies. Some of these chemicals were intentionally added to the plastics during the production process. Others have come to adhere to the surface of the plastics as they flow through polluted environments. Ingesting microplastics, as we do when we eat seafood, can result in the release of these toxic chemicals internally. (* 3)

     

    Marine plastic pollution is a massive, global problem that is being compared in scale to climate change.  

  • プラスチック浮遊量調査装置 アルバトロス

    Step One: Albatross

    The severity of the problem has been recognized, but locally most people do not know details about exactly where and how plastics get into the waters flowing through their lands and then into the sea. To understand these details, we need to ask and answer "outflow" questions. We need ways to measure plastics at various points so that we can identify sources and routes.

     

    At Pirika, we developed a portable research device for investigating microplastic types and quantities at various points of outflow. Albatross can collect floating microplastics in any water environment.

     

    Currently, we are using Albatross for surveys and analysis of microplastic quantities in rivers, ports, and water reclamation centers in the Kanto and Kansai areas of Japan.

  • Survey on Microplastics Contamination

    Flow of investigation on floating amount of microplastics in sea, river, and so on by using Albatross.

    *We began to develop and design research method to identify the outflow route since the winter of 2016,

    and we are currently proceeding with field work in the Kanto and Kansai regions.

    1. Plan Making

    Depending on the purpose and target of the survey, we will decide the survey spot, time, and number of times for investigation while taking water quality into consideration.

    2. Collecting Sample Water

    We deploy our research device “Albatross” in to the water spots that might possibly contain floating plastic. We collect water sample and filter it with a plankton net with a mesh size of 0.3 mm or less. After rinsing the mesh, the suspension contains the plastic is collected.

    3. Analyzing

    Next, remove the plastic piece from the suspension collected in order to analyze the weight, size, components, and so on.

    4. Examination and Recommendations

    Examine the result (such as differences between upstream and downstream) in order to narrow down the outflow route and propose countermeasures.

  • Toward Problem Solving

    In order to solve the microplastics problem, we feel that it is important both to investigate and understand the actual situations and also to take actions toward the issue. We are looking for partners for the following 4 actions tackling the problems together.

    1. Substitution of Plastic Products

    Plastics are used in various products. It is important to develop and use substitute products so that we could minimize the negative impact on the natural world.

     

    Pirika’s Approach: Looking for Partners

     

    2. Reducing and Cutting Down Litter

    It is important to reduce the total amount of plastic waste by restraining the disposal of such products. Also, by improving the design of the city could also cut down litter is a critical approach.

     

    Pirika’s Approach: Researching on Reducing Litter by Applying Takanome

     

    3. Recycle Scattered Waste Early

    It is necessary to recycle all litter in the early stage to prevent them being miniaturized and outflown to the river, ocean, and so on.

     

    Pirika’s Approach: Picking Up Litter by Enhancing the Awareness of Pirika App

    4. Blocking Outflow Route

    Based on the survey result, we identify the outflow route and improve the facilities to make sure that the approach of blocking outflow is effective.

     

    Pirika’s Approach: Looking for Partners