Suzuki develops filter to collect micro-plastics from sea

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In what is claimed to be a world first, Suzuki Motor Corporation has developed a Micro-Plastic Collecting Device for installation on outboard motors.

Suzuki's new micro plastic collection device fitted to one of its outboard motors (Suzuki)

Marine plastic waste is a growing environmental issue with a huge amount of mismanaged waste flowing into the oceans each year. The waste then breaks down into micro-plastics in the ocean’s ecosystem, which can have a significant impact on marine life.

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To help tackle this issue, Suzuki has focused on the structure of the outboard motor, which pumps up tons of seawater to cool the engine and then returns the water to the ocean.

Suzuki has developed a device which collects micro-plastic waste from the returning water. Through this device, micro-plastic waste can be collected when the engine is running.

According to Suzuki, the device can be easily installed to the return hose and does not affect the engine performance since it only uses the returning water that has already been used to cool the engine.

During monitoring research conducted in Japan, a substantial amount of micro-plastic waste was found within the substances collected in the filter. Research is also currently being conducted internationally with further improvements scheduled for the device.

Suzuki said it will introduce the device as optional from 2021 before incorporating it as a standard feature.

“This ground-breaking development is part of Suzuki’s continuing determination to devise innovative solutions that mitigate the serious impact of plastic waste on our natural environment,” said Mark Beeley, head of Marine & ATV for Suzuki GB. “It marks the first time in marine industry history that an outboard motor cooling system has been utilised to extract micro-plastics from the seawater.”