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Whitehaven Harbour secures seventh ‘Seabin’ to capture marine waste

Whitehaven Harbour Youth Project has already secured the installation of 6 of the ocean-cleaning Seabins and last week they installed the 7th.

Several young people from the youth project had identified the need to address the issue of litter entering the marina in Whitehaven Harbour.

During their research they identified a product called a Seabin which could help to tackle the issue and they successfully raised funding to purchase one and install it into Whitehaven Marina back in 2019.

The Seabin is a large bucket shaped device containing a mesh net and oil filters which attaches to a pontoon in a marina and gently draws water through an opening in the top and out of the bottom in a way which poses no threat to marine life.

One of the Seabins in use in the Whitehaven Harbour

They run 24 hours a day and each bin is capable of capturing around 20kg before needing to be emptied.

Each Seabin can capture an estimated 1.5 tonnes of debris per year depending on weather and debris volumes which would mean up to 10.5 tonnes of debris being removed from Whitehaven harbour instead of flowing out to sea.

Seabins – How it works

Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners and Whitehaven Marina calculated that a total of 7 Seabins situated near the main pollution sources (the culverts) would make significant difference in reducing floating debris and oil/diesel pollution and approached the Sellafield Ltd Social Impact Multiplied (SiX) team for support.

SiX provided £93,500 of funding which leveraged nearly £11,500 of additional funding and in-kind support from Whitehaven Marina to install a further 6 Seabins.

In addition, over 400 young people from local schools and youth groups have taken part in the education programme which takes the young people out into the marina on canoes so they can see first-hand the issues pollution is causing in the harbour.

This is followed up with further sessions examining the waste recovered from the Seabins, learning about the impact on marine life and understanding how their actions can make a big difference in preventing waste from entering the water through reducing, reusing, and recycling.

Stephen Walter, at Whitehaven Harbour Youth Project, said:

The installation of these powerful units was driven by the youngsters in Whitehaven, who were wanting to do more for the environment in their hometown.

The harbour and marina are a huge part of life in Whitehaven, so it was a natural choice to start a project there. With such a huge focus on plastics and the health of our ocean, the Seabin project is also a great opportunity for local schools to learn more about pollution and the things that can be done to help.

It gives children a first-hand experience of just some of the ways in which plastics and litter are harming their environment, and to have a first-hand view of the environment and what can be done to help. It also helps children consolidate their existing knowledge and build a better connection with the area that they live in.

Stuart Dunnett, project director at Whitehaven Harbour Youth Project added:

This project has been expanded from one Seabin in late 2019 funded by the Co-op to an additional 6 funded by Sellafield Ltd SiX – social impact multiplied, which has been amazing to be part of and to witness the effect more Seabins have on the marina environment and build awareness locally.

Stuart McCourt, social impact manager at Sellafield Ltd said:

The Seabins project is a great example of the crucial role that young people can play in identifying and addressing issues within their communities. Not only did they identify the bins as a way of removing existing rubbish from the water but there’s also an educational programme aimed at reducing the amount of rubbish that enters the water in the first place too.

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