Hitachi Zosen and Horiba join forces to take on wastewater treatment in Southeast Asia



Horiba and Hitachi Zosen have built a demonstration wastewater treatment facility in Wundwin, Myanmar. Photo credit: Hitachi Zosen

Japanese companies Hitachi Zosen Corporation (Hitachi) and Horiba Ltd (Horiba) have teamed up and merged their technologies in order to tackle wastewater treatment in Southeast Asia (SEA) under the ‘Model Project for Improvement of Water Environment in Asia (Fiscal 2016)’ put forward by Japan’s Ministry of the Environment (MOE). Designed by the Japanese government, this programme aids companies in penetrating the Asian water market.

The team began the project by erecting a demonstration facility in the city of Wundwin, Republic of the Union of Myanmar (Myanmar), the central focal point of the nation’s weaving industry, and where polluted drainage from dyeing the cloth stain the rivers dark.

Although Japanese enterprises first stormed SEA’s productivity-focused “arterial industries” like the manufacturing of appliances and cars, Hitachi and Horiba’s actions mirror a burgeoning trend among corporations who are beginning to focus on “venous industries,” such as recycling and waste treatment, which recover and salvage reusable resources.

The new demonstration facility in Myanmar blends Hitachi’s high-speed filtration system with Horiba’s equipment for measuring water pollution and water quality. The measuring equipment withstands the build-up of dye pigmentation and the filtration system bypasses granular components in favour of specialty fibres, making the process faster and easier to maintain.

The city of Wundwin houses some 5,600 textile plants that produce the longyi, Myanmar’s traditional costume, and a further estimated 630 dyeing factories. However, close to nothing is done to treat the contaminated emission. Waterways that capture the wastewater are speculated to be up to three times more polluted than other waters. The government of Myanmar has started to study the water quality in order to respond to the issue.

The treatment plant, capable of treating about two tons of wastewater per day – or around five per cent of Wundwin’s dye effluent, was subsidised by the Japanese MOE.

The two corporations are slated to begin educating municipal agencies and the local dye industry on the benefits of wastewater treatment and technical instruction. In Myanmar, specific penalties, regulations and standards have not yet been introduced, and the vast majority of factories have not been outfitted with wastewater treatment facilities. Presently, only a few plants maintain and manage wastewater treatment facilities.

The wastewater treatment process. Photo credit: Hitachi Zosen