‘Historically the most common form of waste disposal was via waterways where up until the 1970’s it was legal to dump waste into the oceans with it being the most cheap and convenient practice.’ (Derraik, J. 2002) Reading up on water pollution after witnessing countless drains, waterways and rivers in Indonesia being blocked or filled more so by rubbish than water has shown how few implementations there are for proper waste management, especially when it comes to waste being swept to the ocean.
Overall, plastic is the number one source of pollution in the ocean (as it does not degrade, only breaking down into progressively smaller pieces) along with oil which is the fastest source of deterioration, posing a significant health threat to the entire marine ecosystem. ‘The threat of plastics to the marine environment has been ignored for a long time, and its seriousness has been only recently recognised.’ (Stefatos, A. 1999)
A design initiative to this problem of waste disposal in the oceans has been developed by two Australian surfers from Perth, Andrew Turton and Pete Ceglinski who have created the Seabin. The Seabin is essentially a floating bin that sucks rubbish into it like a vacuum, catching everything floating from plastic bottles to paper, oils, fuel and detergent.
How it works is similar to a pool skimmer box; ‘the bin is attached to a pump which keeps it docked in the water of marinas, private pontoons, inland waterways, residential lakes, harbours, water ways, ports and yacht clubs (controlled water environments where high levels of human activity are present) and this pump creates a flow of water that sucks all floating rubbish and debris into a natural fibre bag, before pumping the water back out.’ (Garty, L. 2015)
It is built from recycled materials, with the pump running on shore power electricity costing around $20 a month to run however they are looking into alternative eco friendlier power sources. The bin is emptied like a rubbish bin on land, therefore people can see what is being caught, (what you are swimming in, what the fish are eating, what you are eating through the fish) and the goal is for the plastic that has been caught to be up-cycled into developing more Seabins.
Pete and Andrew are Product Designers who were in the industry of making plastic products before realising there was no real need for what they were creating. They were fuelled by their passion to develop something better, something which would help. Growing up by the ocean, they realised it was in dire need of help and they had one mission: to keep the oceans tidy.
The product was initially funded by their own savings however they wanted it to be built in the most sustainable and ecologically responsible way so they turned to crowd funding through Indiegogo (raising $270,000 USD.) Along with this Ceglinski stated “we also went to the METSTRADE show, which is the biggest trades show in the world for the marine industry and we’ve also been in contact with lots of mariners and governments around the world.”
The latest news states that “we’ve signed a partnership with Poralu Marine, a french industrial global leader of aluminium facilities for marinas, for the development, manufacturing and worldwide distribution of Seabins with first unit expected to start operating by the end of 2016.”
‘The concept aims to complement the more expensive option of using trash boats, vessels that drive around harbours scooping up rubbish with nets built into them.’ (Gartry, L. 2015) Whilst it will not be a quick solution or solve the bigger problems of “garbage islands,” the Seabin will be beneficial to minimising and controlling further waste being released into the ocean.
You can keep up to date with project on their website http://www.seabinproject.com/
or their instagram: @seabin_project
And you can view their promo video for the Seabin in full here;
Danluck, M. 2008, Garbage Island, Journeyman, England
Derraik, J. 2002, The pollution of the marine environment, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 44, Issue 9, September 2002, Pages 842–852, <http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X02002205>
Garty, L. 2015, ‘Seabin’ designed by Australian Surfers to clean up marinas, reduce ocean pollution, ABC News, Australia, viewed March 13th, < http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-20/seabin-designed-by-australian-surfers-to-start-cleaning-up-ocean/7044174>
Griffiths, S. 2015, The ocean vacuum, Daily Mail, UK, viewed March 13th, <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3370235/The-ocean-VACUUM-sucks-rubbish-oil-waterways-2-500-Seabins-trap-floating-debris-coastlines.html>
Jonathon, A. & Charles G. 1996, Waste water management for coastal cities, Springer, New York.
Launay, C. 2015, Study Shows 5 Countries Account For as Much as 60% of Plastic Ocean Pollution, The Inertia, Australia, viewed March 24th, <http://www.theinertia.com/environment/study-shows-5-countries-account-for-as-much-as-60-of-plastic-ocean-pollution/>
Stefatos, A. 1999, Marine debris on the seafloor of the Mediterranean Sea, Elsevier Science Ltd, UK
Turton, A & Ceglinski, P. 2015, The Seabin Project, Web & Seo, Australia, Viewed March 13th, <http://www.seabinproject.com/>