company Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line) has signed a joint research agreement
with the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology (TUMSAT) to start
research on marine plastics.
The TUMSAT has
been surveying the amount of marine plastic waste, including microplastics —
plastic particles 5 mm or less — floating in the world’s oceans.
research will use K Line’s vessels to collect samples of plastic particles and
is expected to promote the study of marine plastic waste.
Joint research to find out how much plastic waste can be collected
joint research will evaluate how much plastic waste can be collected from
seawater under common process without installing any special equipment on
intake and filtration of seawater by ships on voyages in order to avoid
possible further marine pollution, K Line said.
First, the K Line
vessel will take samples from the seawater intake line with a strainer while
the ship is running, and then the TUMSAT will collect plastic particles from
the samples and analyze the material, size, and other elements.
The project will
lead to further research, such as the collection of microplastics in the open
sea using ocean-going vessels and the establishment of a monitoring system for
the density of microplastics in specific areas.
The marine plastic waste
It is estimated
that approximately eight million tons of plastic waste are discharged from land
into the ocean every year throughout the world.
various problems, such as deterioration of ecosystems and the marine
environment, deterioration of coastal functions, disruption of vessel
navigation, and impacts on fisheries and tourism.
There is also
concern about the impact of microplastics from seafood on the human body. As
such, it has become a global environmental issue.
What is more, more
than 95% of marine plastic waste is believed to originate from land-based
sources. Social initiatives are underway on land such as efforts to prevent the
generation of plastic waste and introduce legislation. However, there is still
no established method of recovering this marine plastic waste without expending
plastic waste is part of K Line action plan “Blue Seas for the Future” for
The company also
participates in the Plastic Smart campaign launched by the Japanese Ministry of
Environment that promotes intelligent corporate use of plastic.