Seabin: Floating Invention Filters Plastic Pollution Out of Marine Waters (Video)

Plastic bag floating underwater

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Plastic pollution in our oceans is a serious issue -- it affects marine wildlife like whales and lobsters, and is so persistent that some of these 'gyres' have formed their own ecosystems. Yikes!

But these bits of plastic contaminating the oceans have to come in from somewhere, and often it comes from human activities along the shoreline. To tackle the problem at these entry points, two Australians have invented something similar to an automated pool cleaner -- but for marinas, harbours, ports and even inland waters like rivers and lakes -- that sucks up garbage, while filtering out the water. They're calling it the Seabin, and it recently was successfully crowdfunded on Indiegogo. Check out how it works:

Inventors and surfers Andrew Turton and Pete Ceglinski both spent their younger years around the water, and were compelled to quit their jobs to design a solution they believe will help address the urgent problem of plastic pollution. The Seabin is designed as an 24/7 alternative to more costly alternatives like dedicated trash boats or humans trawling harbours for garbage. It's also small and unobtrusive enough that it can be placed in "problem areas" in marinas. Say the designers:

The Seabin is more efficient than a marine worker walking around with a scoop net. By working with these marinas, ports and yacht clubs we can locate the seabin in the perfect place and mother nature brings us the rubbish to catch it. Sure we can't catch everything right now but its a really positive start.

The Seabin is a floating trash bin made from 70 to 100 percent recycled polyethylene plastic. It's attached to a dock, and uses a water pump to suck water and trash into its interior, where garbage and other nasty fluids can be filtered out of the water via a natural fiber bag. Clean(er) water is then pumped out.

So far, the Seabin team has tested the prototype out in Mallorca, Spain, and it seems to have been a success. (No fish were harmed). Despite the hefty price tag of USD $3,825 per bin, the crowdfunding campaign did achieve its goal, raising more than $240,000 to push the project to the next level. So, we may see more of these unassuming floating marine filters in the future, ridding the waters of garbage, one marina at a time. In the meantime, we can all do our personal part by reducing our plastic waste or going zero-waste all together.