"Albatross" is a low-cost microplastics survey system that can collect (micro) plastics floating in the water. It contributes to analyzing the ingredients and compounds of floating plastics and identifying plastic leakage pathways. We have published the data collected through Albatross
“Albatross” is a low-cost microplastics survey system that can collect (micro) plastics floating in the water. It contributes to analyzing the ingredients and compounds of floating plastics and identifying plastic leakage pathways. We have published the data collected through Albatross publicly. In our investigations, we focus on two pieces of information about debris in the water: leakage items and leakage pathways. These two pieces of information are important for developing efficient solutions for issues that stem from (micro) plastics. In order to conduct a survey of microplastics in water, the usual and conventional way is to pull a net behind a boat. But this method is generally very expensive and even impossible if a targeted river or a channel is so narrow and shallow that a boat cannot enter. That’s why we developed “Albatross”, a device that would be low-cost and usable anywhere. It can be suspended from a bridge or a pier, and the survey can be completed in just three minutes. “Albatross” has already been used in more than 300 locations in 10 countries including the project with UNEP. It is quickly becoming one of the world’s most widely used microplastic research devices. After plastics are collected, Pirika works with universities and plastics processing companies to analyze collected plastics. Our past surveys have shown that more than 14 percent of the microplastics that flow into Japanese rivers are fragments of artificial turf. Until we did our surveys, no one knew that artificial turf was such a major source of microplastics leakage. When we discover an inconvenient truth like artificial turf leakage, we start collaborations with companies that have risks and opportunities and begin developing solutions. For the case of artificial turf leakage, for example, we are 1) creating guidelines about maintenance in order to reduce leakage; 2) developing a filter for drains to stop leakage into water systems; and 3) recycling collected fragments into new products. Our research is leading to both the development of solutions and the generation of new businesses. We share the information through white papers, presentations, media coverage, and an open data website. Through sharing, we aim to change the mindset of consumers and voters, and to enable discussions and policy decisions based on correct knowledge.
Current Distribution Countries :
All over the world specifically used in Mekong River (Counter MEASURE Project)
Pirika means "beautiful" in Ainu, one of Japan’s indigenous languages. We are a hybrid organization of a for-profit company and a non-profit association. At Pirika, we are focusing on the problem of waste, specifically on the leakage of plastics into the environment.