Monday 16 September 2019

WATCH: How the new sea-bin installed Howth Harbour will tackle plastic waste

Howth, Co Dublin
Howth, Co Dublin
Sorcha O'Connor

Sorcha O'Connor

A seabin was installed at Howth Harbour this morning in the battle against sea pollution.

The image of plastic bottles and rubbish floating in the sea has become all too familiar at some beauty spots and marine biologist Rowan Byrne, a Howth man, decided enough was enough. 

He approached harbour master Harry McLoughlin earlier this year to talk about installing the bin. 

He explained to Independent.ie how the bin’s pump sucks in rubbish while also oxygenating the water.

“At the base of the sea bin is a small pump and it drags the water in, it just breaks the surface of the water in order to collect any floating debris that will be on the surface of the water – plastic bottles, crisp packets, things like that, bottle tops,” said Mr Byrne. 

“It brings it into the net and as often as you need to you lift the net out and take the plastic out of the sea. It is quite a simple operation and it works 24/7.”

The seabin will be a huge help in cleaning the harbour’s waters, according to harbour master Mr McLoughlin, as his team can collect a tonne of rubbish in three hours. The bin has been strategically placed on the pontoon in Howth so it will go up and down with the tide and suck any floating plastics. 

“If the bin needs to cleaned out every day we will do it every day. Our own harbour staff to a lot of cleaning manually here in the harbour on a boat and we can collect anything up to a tonne of rubbish in two or three hours.” 

A seabin can catch containers up to 5 litres, and is estimated to trap 90,000 shopping bags in a year. 

It can also skim surface oils and pollutants, as well as microplastics. 

Flossie Donnelly (12) who fundraised to install the first ever sea bins in Ireland was delighted by the addition of the new bin in Howth. 

“I fundraised to get two seabins in Dun Laoghaire just over a year ago now,” she said. 

Known as ‘Flossie the beach cleaner’ she picks up rubbish on Dublin’s beaches. 

However the sea bin helps that little bit more. 

“It is very well collecting rubbish but the oil in the water you just can’t collect, and the microplastic you can collect but it would take a long time. The seabin, that can collect it all.

“The pump sucks in the rubbish and pumps out the water.” 

Flossie raised €4,500 to install the first bin.

This is the fifth bin in Ireland as there are already two in Dun Laoghaire, one in Bangor, and one in Dingle. It was sponsored by engineering company Mott MacDonald.

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