The Seabin Project
A battle against climate change
Who was behind the seabin project? How was the community involved?
What is the Seabin Project?
Andrew says "The majority of my childhood I spent in the water, there's nothing worse than being out there surrounded by plastic" (Dobney).
Currently Pete and Andrew are living in Mallorca Spain (Dobney) and are incredibly determined to get their message heard. The ocean is a vital part of the global ecosystem and everyone should care about its well-being.
The Seabins are primarily designed to be placed on docks, throughout marinas, inland waterways, private pontoons, harbours, residential lakes, ports, and yacht clubs. By placing the Seabins in relatively controlled environments where the winds and currents are consistent it enables the Seabin to trap the most garbage (The Seabin Project). It is a big job for a small device, but it is an attainable, sustainable, and affordable one. The real question is, why not? What do we have to lose? By spreading the word worldwide we will establish global awareness and a movement that will lead us on a path of cleaning up our oceans from the waste that we are ultimately responsible for. This is exactly what Andrew and Pete did. Pete actually used to work as a product designer and worked with a lot of plastic products. When he heard about Andrew's Seabin idea he decided to quit his job because it did not value the well-being of the ocean like he did. He felt as if it was contradictory. As a team they developed a prototype and business plan and are optimistic for the future as they have gathered many supporters worldwide through the help of social media.
Why is it a problem for coastal communities?
- Loss of fish results in economic loss
- Higher prices on fish due to their scarcity
- Diminishes marine biodiversity
- Depletes tourism due to water quality and unsanitary conditions
Why is it a global problem?
- Plastics in the oceans continue to increase and the ocean is everywhere
- Fishing industries will be heavily affected due to loss of fish
- Coastal communities and other communities that rely on fish for protein are going to suffer
- The production of plastics and waste of plastics is a problem a lot of the world has contributed to therefore it is everyone's responsibility
- Biodiversity loss will result in a positive feedback loop which harms us because we depend on a lot of the ocean's natural resources
- It affects human health because we consume fish that have consumed immense amounts of plastic.
OVERALL THIS IS A GLOBAL PROBLEM BECAUSE IT RESULTS IN ENVIRONMENTAL, ECONOMIC, CULTURAL, AND AESTHETIC COSTS WORLDWIDE
GOALS OF THE SEABIN PROJECT
- To help rid the oceans of plastics and pollution.
- To have a Seabin production in place by mid to end of 2016 and start shipping.
- To create Seabins from the most sustainable materials and processes available.
- To have the lowest carbon footprint possible in the production of the Seabins by means of alternative materials and processes. Also by reducing shipping and having the Seabins manufactured in the countries of installation.
- To create and support local economies with the production, maintenance and installation of the Seabins world wide.
- To have future models of Seabins for specific locations.
- To educate people and cultures about being more responsible with the use and disposal of plastics.
- To setup educational programs for students in schools.
- To convert our captured plastics into energy.
- To reuse or recycle our Seabins for other uses and or applications.
- To have pollution free oceans with no need for the Seabins.
LIST DIRECTLY FROM THEIR WEBSITE: http://www.seabinproject.com/
How does it work?
Water is constantly flowing into the bin. The bin catches the plastics and traps it within the walls of the bin. Water travels out the bottom of the bin and is transported to the pump located on the dock. From here water flows through the pump separating oil, and detergents from the water. Finally water flows out of the pump and back into the ocean. It has a been a concern of critics of the design that marine life could also get sucked into to the bin, however, so far fish and other marine life have not been harmed by the Seabins.
SEE PICTURE BELOW FOR A BETTER UNDERSTANDING!
Our waste is harming marine life
"99 percent of the world’s seabird species -- including penguins and albatrosses -- are expected to suffer from plastic ingestion by 2050" -Maria Galluci
How is plastic contributing to climate change?
Overall, the manufacturing, distribution, and waste of plastic products is having a significant impact of climate change. When manufactured, plastic industries emit various toxic chemicals into the air. "Major emissions from plastic production processes include sulfur oxides, nitrous oxides, methanol, ethylene oxide, and volatile organic compounds" (Pollution and Hazards from Manufacturing). Not is this only contributing to air pollution but it is extremely hazardous for the workers in plastic production plants. Incidents range from chemical spills, fires, explosions, and toxic clouds of vapor from the chemicals.
The disposal of our plastics is a serious issue and many things we throw away end up in our water systems and eventually to our oceans. Thankfully we have people like Andrew and Pete who are being proactive. They are recognizing a problem, using their brilliance and innovation to help fix a problem, and educating people across the globe through social media.
WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT OUR PLASTIC DEPENDENCE?
In my opinion waning local communities off plastic bags is an important step we should make in reducing our impact on climate change.
Bellingham Washington has taken steps in the right direction by eliminating plastic bags in grocery stores and even the distribution of plastic water bottles on the local Western Washington University Campus. I think a lot of the problem is that people are uneducated about the effects. We often have an "out of sight, out of mind" mentality and never have to deal with the consequences that follow our wastefulness. Educating the public is another key aspect in removing plastics from our oceans and landfills. Though I am an advocate for recycling, the recycling of plastic products often encourage plastic production to continue.
Interview with student Nate Littrell
Sometimes it is hard for many of us to comprehend our impact on the Earth and when we talk about the health of the ocean, many of us say "What can I do about it?". There is a sense of hopelessness that a majority of people feel due to the ocean being so vast.
As a reporter from Bellingham Washington, I thought it would be appropriate to ask a fellow student and friend, Nate Littrell, what he thinks about our oceans, our impact, the Seabin Project, and if it is worth investing in.
Me: Have you heard of the Seabin project before me telling you about it?
Me: How knowledgeable were you about the project?
Nate: I knew that they found a cost effective way to put something into the ocean that collects trash and other unwanted materials.
Me: What do you know about plastics in our oceans?
Nate: I know that is harmful, it can kill marine life and is general pollution.
Me: How urgent would you consider this problem?
Nate: Fairly urgent, on a scale of 1 to 10 I would give it a 6 on the urgency scale.
Me: Do you think there is anything we can do?
Nate: Yes, but I am not sure how we could do it.
Me: Do you think that people in America are educated about the impact our lives are having on our oceans?
Nate: Some, but probably not a lot.
Me: Why do you think that is?
Nate: There are a lot of people in this country that are not educated in environmental issues. Either people don't care, or they do not have money to help the problem. There are also people that don't believe that it is happening.
Me: Do you think the Seabin project is worth fundraising for? Do you think it would make a difference?
Nate: It would probably make a difference, it may not be a very noticeable difference, but it would be worth fundraising.
Me: If you were not struggling to pay for the ridiculously high price of American college, would you contribute 5-10$ to this project?
Nate: *chuckles* Yes if I had the means to do so, definitely.
What are the next steps?
From our interview with Nate Littrell it is imperative that we recognize that even at WWU, a liberal University with a strong emphasis on environmental awareness, his concern for the ocean remains at a 6 out of 10. Educating those who are skeptical and those who are ignorant to the subject is essential in reaching a goal of sustainability. The ocean IS vast, and it DOES seem unattainable, but with little steps on the road to sustainability, we can make a difference.
I love the idea of the Seabin and fully support it. I believe that our oceans need our help. Our manufacturing and disposal of plastics is contributing to climate change in a way that is impacting the well-being of marine ecosystems, human health, air and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity. I believe that the eventual phase out of plastic products is the best way to truly deal with this problem, but until then, taking small steps like Pete and Andrew did with the Seabin Project is the motivation we need to provide a healthy planet for all organisms. Though they are ambitious and perhaps overly optimistic to some, their progress is inspirational and if we all took steps toward sustainability like these wonderful Aussies, think about where we would be today. What do you think about the Seabin Project? Find out more below and contact them if you have questions or even if you want to make a donation toward their community solution to climate change!
CHECK OUT THEIR VIDEO AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS NEWSLETTER!
Dobney, Chris. "Byron designer’s floating bin set to clean up marinas." Echo NetDaily. VAST interior furniture and homewares , 2 Nov. 2015. Web. 15 Jan. 2016. <http://www.echo.net.au/2015/11/byron-designers-floating-bin-set-to-clean-up-marinas/>.
Galluci, Maria. "Our Plastic Seas: Climate Change And Pollution Will Make Oceans More Hostile By 2050." International Business Times. International Business Times, 1 Sept. 2015. Web. 15 Jan. 2016. <http://www.ibtimes.com/pulse/our-plastic-seas-climate-change-pollution-will-make-oceans-more-hostile-2050-2077973>.
"Pollution and Hazards from Manufacturing." Ecology Center. Ecology Center, n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2016. <http://ecologycenter.org/plastics/ptf/report3/>.
The Seabin Project. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2016. <http://www.seabinproject.com/>.
Werft, Meghan. "Two guys from Australia invented a trash bin for the ocean."Global Citizen. N.p., 28 Dec. 2015. Web. 15 Jan. 2016. <https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/two-guys-from-australia-invented-a-trash-bin-for-t/>.