There are a number of schemes out there intended to tackle the huge problem of ocean waste, and while none claim to be a complete solution, they do promise to help in their own ways. Among them is the Seabin, a rubbish-sucking flotation device that is now being installed commercially for the very first time.
Dreamt up by a pair of Australian surfers fed up with wading through trash, the Seabin started as a wildly successful crowdfunding project in 2015 and has now matured into a commercial product. Its design has changed a little since but the premise remains the same. The Seabin is basically a water filtering system that floats on the surface within marinas, ports or calm bodies of water and hoovers up floating debris.
Placed strategically to take advantage of wind and currents, the Seabin collects trash by drawing water in through a removable mesh catch bag, thanks to a small 110 V or 220 V pump. The bag is made from recycled plastics and collects not only trash, but certain oils and detergents as well. Its creators say it can collect around 1.5 kg (3.3 lb) of debris per day, depending on the conditions.
One of the backers of the crowdfunding campaign was Land Rover Ben Anslie Racing, a British yacht racing team that has become the company's first customer and is now installing the world's first commercial Seabin. It is fitting the device to its pontoon in Old Portsmouth, England, where it expects it to remove half a tonne of debris from the waters each year, along with oils and detergents.
"The collaboration with Seabin forms part of the team's on-going drive to become the most sustainable sports team in the world," said Jo Grindley, Land Rover BAR CMO/ CCO. "The ocean is our playground and when opportunities come along to partner with exciting and innovative projects, such as the Seabin, we are really keen to support and work together to help improve the health of the oceans."
With millions of metric tons of plastic entering the ocean each year, the Seabin team is well aware of the fact that its machine won't put a dent in the wider problem. These bottles, lighters and plastic bags are broken down by the ocean currents into small fragments called microplastics, and the science community is having a hard time keeping track of there whereabouts, which raises real concerns for the well-being of marine life.
But projects like the Seabin and the Ocean Cleanup Project do help raise awareness of the problem by eliminating trash on a smaller scale, and that surely is better than nothing.
"The team at Seabin acknowledge that the real solution to ocean plastics and littering is not technology, but education, science, research," says Pete Ceglinski, CEO and Co-Founder of Seabin. "The innovative Seabin project is also a tool to inspire and engage the next generation, with the ultimate goal to live in the world without the need for Seabins."
Source: Land Rover BAR