Most of the waste we produce on land eventually ends up in the worlds oceans. Caused by both deliberate dumping and run-off from drains and rivers, ocean pollution is a major problem. One that we are struggling to deal with. Currently there is a mass of tiny particulate garbage the size of Texas floating in the pacific ocean [the pacific garbage patch], and we don’t have the necessary technology to clean it up efficiently.
Enter Andrew Turton and Pete Ceglinski. These two Australians grew up by the beach, and were always aware of the ever present garbage in the ocean. Deciding they’d had enough of the pollution problem, Andrew and Pete quit their jobs and set out to create a viable solution.
After a lot of research and testing the two came up with an automated rubbish bin of sorts. Built completely from recycled materials, the ‘Seabin’, as it’s called, is connected to an onshore water pump that creates a flow of water which effectively sucks rubbish and debris into it’s natural fibre bag. Catching everything from floating plastic bottles to paper, oils, fuel and detergent it could be an incredibly useful tool for ocean clean ups of all kind.
“It essentially works as a similar concept to a skimmer box from your pool filter. But it’s designed on a scale to work and essentially attract all that rubbish within a location within a marine harbour” – Richard Talmage (‘Seabin’ Spokesman)
Adapting it to a boat and cleaning up major oil spills, sending a large group of them out to attempt to make a dent in the pacific garbage patch and just placing them in marinas around the globe could potentially have a positive impact on the environment.
While reducing our waste output is essential, it’s important to realize that there is already an incredible amount of garbage out there polluting our oceans. With something like the Seabin, we can begin to undo the damage we’ve done.
“There’s not only the pollution side, but (it’s) for the broader environment, and then extending that through marinas into education for local communities as well, so that one day we can drive towards a cleaner environment for everyone that’s using the water.”
The team have been searching for investors and manufacturing. They also launched an Indiegogo campaign which received 113% funding just this January. The’ve stated that they have manufacturing interest and plan on releasing the ‘Seabin’ in mid to late 2016!
“We also went to the METSTRADE show, which is the biggest trades show in the world for the marine industry. From that we found a few people that want to help us with manufacturing and we’ve also been in contact with lots of mariners and governments around the world.”
While the ‘Seabin’ may eventually play an important role in ocean clean up, that doesn’t mean it’s the perfect solution. Requiring a lot of power, it will need to be scaled up and more efficient in order to be useful for large scale ocean clean up like the Pacific garbage patch. In the meantime it’s still one of our best ocean pollutant clean up tools. If it truly is able to clean up oil like stated, one of it’s best implementations will be to clean up oil spills.
These in combination with something like the Ocean Clean Up Array could cover extremely large scales of garbage and actually begin to make a dent in the pollution of the ocean. Although, even with technologies like this and the Ocean Array, it will still take a huge amount of time to make any noticeable impact as the amount of pollution in our oceans is just too great.