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Seabin will tackle ocean trash

A new addition at the Hamilton Princess and Beach Club marina will look to play a small part in cleaning up ocean trash.

The device — called a Seabin — is affixed to docks and marinas to siphon plastic, debris, detergents and oil from the water before they can make their way out to sea.

The unit, the first of its kind in Bermuda, comes through a three-year partnership between Butterfield Bank and the Seabin Project, the organisation behind the device.

Pete Ceglinski, CEO and co-founder of the Seabin Project, described the partnership between his organisation and the bank as a milestone.

Several “huge companies” showed interest after the project's crowdfunding campaign went viral, “with over 500 million hits”, he said.

“All of a sudden, people started taking notice.”

Mr Ceglinski said that it was the approachableness of Butterfield, as well as their history of community initiatives, which set it apart from other corporate courters.

“When we spoke with [Butterfield CEO] Michael Collins, he started telling us about his history of growing up here,” he said.

“I'd like to think we have an integrity, and we're not just led by the nose to have a bit of money.”

Curtis Dickinson, executive vice-president, group head of private banking at Butterfield, said that the Seabin would help play a small part against a global problem.

“Our oceans are in crisis,” Mr Dickinson said. “They are literally awash in trash.”

According to Mr Dickinson, there are currently 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic trash in the world's oceans. Another eight million tonnes are added annually, he said.

“That is the equivalent of a garbage truck full of plastic being dumped into the sea every single minute, every day.”

An educational aspect is also part of the agreement, which includes a classroom component and fieldwork.

“The Seabin is not the solution — the solution is ourselves changing our culture of what we consume, what we buy, what we recycle,” Mr Ceglinski said.

Jonathan Starling, executive director with Greenrock, echoed the need for a cultural shift.

“The key thing is really changing how we ourselves approach our consumer lifestyle,” Mr Starling said.

“If we can reduce the amount of trash — plastic in particular — going into the ocean, that's the key. This is really just putting a Band-aid on it. It's needed, and it's good, but the main benefit is to raise awareness.”

He said the project represented exactly the type of co-operative initiative needed to tackle environmental issues.

“A healthy ocean is critical to our survival,” he said.

“The oceans are part of Bermuda's heritage — it's part of our history, it's part of our very being.”

Allan Trew, at the Hamilton Princess and Beach Club, said that it was an honour to have one of the first Seabins in operation at the resort.

“Bermuda's waters and our abundant marine life have drawn visitors to our island for generations,” he said.

“It is essential for everyone to help preserve this.”

The hotel is one of six marinas taking part in the global pilot project.

Other Seabins are set to be placed in locations including Helsinki, Majorca and San Diego.

The project aims to have their devices available for sale commercially later this summer.

Mr Ceglinski said bigger projects were in the pipeline, including the possibility of anchored units, as well as sustainable energy, self-powered devices.

“The aim of the business is not to have a need for the Seabins,” he said.

“Essentially, that's commercial suicide. But we don't mind — we'll just do something else.”

Seabin Project managing director Pete Ceglinski and Andrew Turton, inventor, director and co-founder (File photograph)

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Published May 12, 2017 at 2:28 pm (Updated May 13, 2017 at 1:44 am)

Seabin will tackle ocean trash

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