In an industry-first, Japan’s Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) has installed a microplastic collection device on one of its ships. MOL teamed with Japanese ballast water treatment system manufacturer Miura to add the device onto a newbuild wood chip carrier.
The microplastic collection device is activated during operation of the ballast water treatment system, with the assumption that collection takes place during cargo handling operations. Using a filter with a backwashing function, which constitutes the ballast water treatment system, the device efficiently collects microplastics trapped in the filter right before the treated water is discharged overboard. MOL is the world’s first operator to install and demonstrate the microplastic collective device on a merchant vessel. The project team continues to improve the device and is examining ways to make it easier for crewmembers to use and increase microplastic collection capacity.
“Marine plastic waste, generated every day all over the world, remains in the sea for an extended period of time, causing grave concerns about global-scale environmental pollution,” MOL stated in a release today.
MOL’s initiative on ocean plastic pollution started with participation in the “Plastic Smart” forum hosted by Japan’s Ministry of the Environment, and since then it has been expanding activities including marine plastic pollution-related scientific research with the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC).