Albatross: Microplastics Survey
Albatross is a microplastic survey service that helps determine the mechanisms of and find solution to microplastic runoff. We survey various locations including rivers, ports, and sewage treatment plants to clarify the existing conditions.
What are Microplastics?
Derived from the plastic items we use in our daily lives, microplastics are plastics broken down into pieces smaller than 5mm.
Due to their minuscule size, microplastics are considered a possible risk to human health.While the plastics themselves pose little harm, the accumulation of potentially toxic chemical compounds is thought to increase the risk of human cells becoming cancerous. (※1)
(※1) "Foresight Future of the Sea" by the UK Government Office for Science
Pirika's Microplastic Survey Methods
As experts of waterway pollution, Pirika has developed several methods of surveying microplastic levels, with our technology being adopted by clients such as the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP).
Consultation and Preparation
Determining Survey Locations, Methods and Frequencies according to projects needs and budget.
Examples of past client research include:
- Calculations of the microplastic pollution in local waterways
- Data to develop policies reducing microplastic leakage
- Tests measuring the effectiveness of existing environmental policies
Effective and Comprehensive Field Sampling
Pirika's sampling methods can be implemented in nearly all locations, making it possible to analyze pollution levels in a wide range of environments.
If sampling of plastics whose density is heavy are needed, we adjust several steps according to project needs such as combination of sampling from the bottom of waterways.
Using a fine mesh net to capture anything larger than 0.1mm, Pirika's methods ensure high-quality samples for lab analysis.
To ensure sufficient water flow, choose from towed/natural/powered water flow by boat. （Pirika is capable of handling all methods.)
Removing Organic Material to Isolate Microplastic Particles
This process ensures that objects naturally found in waterways, such as organic material and gravel, do not contaminate the sample, raising the precision of the team's measurements
In addition to acid treatments and visual filtering, Pirika utilizes a hydrogen peroxide solution to remove organic contaminants, ensuring the utmost purity of its microplastic samples
Determining Microplastic Origin and Leakage Routes
Using a variety of analysis tools, including a state-of-the-art FT-IR spectrometer, microplastic sample data is recorded and stored in Pirika's own data storage system.
Beyond conventional analysis techniques, which conclude with a particle composition and dimensions, at Pirika we pay due diligence to investigate sample origin. Tracking the samples leakage route, the team takes steps to resolve the underlying issue.
Survey Results and Recommendations Towards Reducing Leakages
In addition to publishing reports and presentations detailing tangible solutions, Pirika works to provide open-source pollution data and advice communities affected by microplastic pollution.
Implemented at request of the city council to inform future environmental policy, Pirika surveyed 14 river and port locations surrounding Kawasaki city, investigating the concentration of microplastic pollution in the environment.
Conducted surveys in rivers, lakes and ports across 14 prefectures country-wide. Of 100 locations sampled, 98 contained significant amounts of microplastics, revealing the nationwide extent of this environmental issue.Research results were published in over 20 news media outlets.
Reference: Microplastics leakage database
Conducted surveys in 5 cities (4 countries) across Southeast Asia. Our results detected tremendous levels of microplastic concentration, considerably contributing to the pollution of the Mekong Delta.
Reference: UNEP CounterMEASURE
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