At the beginning of this year, shockwaves spread across the public with the news that by 2050, there would be more plastic than fish in the oceans. To someone like me who is very conscious about the waste I am producing, this was hardly surprising, though still incredibly depressing. However what was more unexpected was how everyone else reacted to it, amazed that there was even a plastic problem in the first place. Not enough people are aware of the fact that we are drowning in plastic, and choose to ignore the signs, such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, that have shown us for years we are choking the oceans. And if the oceans are ruined, that means huge swathes of ecosystems will be destroyed,containing all of our fish and seafood, essential energy producers in food chains, and kelps and seagrasses that act as natural erosion barriers, to name a few.
So are we as a species doomed because of this unhealthy plastic addiction? Or are we able to change our ways, and find some way to clean up our beautiful seas?
The Seabin Project aims to do exactly that. Founded by Andrew Turton and Peter Ceglinski, the Seabin Project produces rubbish bins that can be hung in the water and suck in any plastic, paper, oils, detergents and other general debris in the surrounding ocean. They use an electric pump which attracts all of the rubbish, and filter it out, returning the clean water to the sea. Even when the bags are full, they can still attract rubbish, drawing it in to float around the Seabin.
So what happens to all that rubbish that gets collected? It can be used for education, to show the public exactly what is going into the ocean and the damage it can cause. What’s more, the Seabin Project hopes to use the plastic waste that it picks up can be used to create more Seabins, which can collect more rubbish to make more bins… and so the cycle continues until there is no more rubbish left in the ocean!
The seabins are designed to have a low carbon footprint, being reusable and sustainable. They work every day throughout the year, and can be used by local people with little training- one person can easily empty and replace the natural fibre sacks when they are full. Though pretty sturdy, they are best used in marinas or yacht clubs, where they cannot be destroyed by sea storms. Considering that these areas are often highly populated and get a lot of tourism, they are probably a good place to start collecting rubbish from the sea!
The Seabin Project has recently partnered with Poralu Marine, a French industrial leader in aluminium facilities, to manufacture the Seabins and have them on the market (and cleaning our oceans!) by the end of 2016. And I look forward to seeing them in our ports and marinas soon!
For more information on the Seabin Project, you visit their website here! You can also watch their video about the Seabin on YouTube.