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The Seabin Project cleans up the first marina in the Netherlands

That the oceans are full of plastic probably doesn’t come as a surprise, but how to clean it all up is another matter. Projects like The Ocean Cleanup are working on making the sea inhabitable again for sea life, but their methods are not suitable for the more cramped space of marinas. This is where the Seabin comes in: quite literally a bin that sucks in floating debris, while not harming animals living in the water. Marina Muiderzand in Almere is the first marina in the Netherlands that uses the Seabin.

The Seabin is a floating bin that sucks in floating debris, such as plastic. It can be installed in the water of marinas, ports, or any body of water with a calm environment.

The bin is estimated to catch 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds) of floating debris per day, including micro plastic up to 2 mm small. The amount of plastic caught depends on the weather and, of course, the amount of plastic pollution. The Seabin is placed in “debris problem areas”, which are the places where floating debris collects, as this is the place where the wind and currents bring the waste.

Connected to the floating ring on the surface is a mesh bag that collects the debris, made from recycled plastic. Older versions used Hessian fibre (also known as burlap) bags, but these absorbed too much water and were not very sustainable as disposable product.

The bags can hold up to 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of waste, and is even able to clean up oil with simple oil absorption technology adapted for the catch bag. The aim is to even clean up cyanobacteria in the near future, bacteria that can be damaging to human health.

The bin works as follows: a submersible water pump, or one placed at the shore in older models, capable of displacing 25.000 litres (6604 US gallon) per hour is plugged into a 110/220V outlet, sucking in the water. The water is then pumped back into the marina, leaving the litter trapped in the catch bag. The bin can run 24 hours per day, and needs to be checked frequently to prevent the bag from flowing over with debris.

No fish are caught by the bins, because they tend to swim underneath them.

The bin in the Marina Muiderzand was installed last month as the first of its kind in the Netherlands, but by no means the last. Obviously, the Seabin is not going to solve the pollution problem, but it can make people aware of what happens to their garbage if not disposed of properly.

Photos: Omroep Flevoland / Seabin