A group of Indian scientists may have found the solution to an issue of global concern: disturbance of eco systems because of the growing maritime traffic across the world.

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) had been perennially concerned over the transportation of marine species between different parts of the world because of discharge of ballast water from ocean-going ships.

Over the years, it had been taking several measures to address the issue. But, so far, none of them had been totally effective. Incidences of invasion of alien species in coastal water due to ballast water discharge continue.

In the new development that promises to be of far-reaching significance, the scientists have got a patent from the United States Patent Office for a treatment technology for the ballast water that is not only highly effective, but is also all more eco-friendly as it does not use any chemicals.

A.C. Anil, Scientist at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research's Goa-based National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), who developed the technology in collaboration with his colleagues at the Pune-based National Chemical Laboratory and University of Bombay's Institute of Chemical Technology, said the technology is based on the principle of ‘hydrodynamic cavitation.'

Speaking to a group of journalists from Delhi, he said the NIO had prepared specific action plans for management of ballast water for four ports — two in Bombay and one each in Goa and Visakhapatnam — in collaboration with the Directorate-General of Shipping and the Port Authorities. The action plan included an electronic reporting system, whereby ships sailing in and out of these ports would have to declare where they were coming from, the quantum of ballast water and other such details.

The exercise would be expanded to create a national integrated action to cover the remaining eight major ports in the country by 2016.