Cornish rower Bella Collins, whose UK team smashed a Pacific Record to raise more than £30,000 so far for the global “Seabin Project”, is joining Falmouth Harbour, Plastic Free Falmouth and Paddle Logger to launch Cornwall’s first of these rubbish-skimming waste collectors back in home waters.
Bella and Plastic Free Falmouth’s Cllr Kirstie Edwards are unveiling the £4,000 Seabin – installed in an area of the Falmouth Haven pontoons where flotsam and jetsam is known to accumulate – in the latest drive by Falmouth Harbour to create an ever cleaner and greener environment.
The device, which is skimming plastics and other debris from the water, was funded by Falmouth Harbour in generous collaboration with Falmouth-based Space tech company Paddle Logger whichcreates specialist tracking and safety software for watersports’ enthusiasts.
Falmouth’s new Seabin is part of the Harbour team’s 150th Anniversary pledge to create an environmental legacy and be at the forefront of green innovation to protect the Harbour and its unique natural environment and habitats.
Falmouth Harbour CEO Miles Carden said: “Partnering with Paddle Logger Bella, Kirstie and their teams to raise the profile of this environmental project has been rewarding as we are completely on the same page.
“Making change for the better is challenging but doing it with other likeminded friends of Falmouth Harbour makes the task so much easier.”
This litter gathering technology is the first device of its type installed in Cornwall – linking Falmouth into the world-wide network of the Seabin Project: there are currently 860 Seabins located in marinas around the globe collecting almost 4000kg of plastic and debris each day.
Paddle Logger Founder and CEO David Walker said: “In an ideal world this Seabin should have very little to do – but it is great to see the positive steps Falmouth Harbour are taking to mitigate plastics and rubbish entering our ocean playground.
“At Paddle Logger we hope to inspire paddlers to be responsible ocean stewards, we encourage everyone to give back to the ocean and ensure they take rubbish with them when they are out and about.
“Falmouth was where everything started for us. Since 2014 I have been testing various versions of Paddle Logger either out in Falmouth Bay or in the harbour here. It is part of our DNA so when the opportunity came up to give back to the place that has given so much it was an easy decision.”
The Seabin unit acts as a floating litter bin, skimming the surface of the water by pumping water into the device. It can intercept floating debris, macro and micro plastics and even micro fibres: by acting as a skimmer it can also clean the water from contaminated organic material like leaves, algae and seaweed.
One Seabin has the capacity to catch 90,000 plastic bags each year or 16,500 plastic bottles – which means Falmouth Harbour staff are emptying their unit twice a day, alongside cleaning and maintaining it and monitoring the plastics captured – with data collected and communicated on the Falmouth Harbour website.
Bella and her all-female foursome the “Ocean Sheros” completed the 2,700 Pacific Ocean Race from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco to Hawaii in just over 35 days, knocking a full two weeks off the former record for a women’s crew. So far they have raised almost £31,000 for the Seabin charity which is providing practical solutions to reduce plastics in the seas – with a goal of reaching £60,000 by next May through https://www.gofundme.com/f/ocean-sheroes-for-the-seabin-project
Meanwhile Plastic Free Falmouth, run by Falmouth’s Deputy Mayor Cllr Kirstie Edwards, is part of a global movement working with individuals, organisations and businesses to reduce and ultimately stop damaging pollution of the planet by single use plastics.
Kirstie said: “To finally have Falmouth’s first Seabin in residence and actively cleaning our Harbour 24 hours a day is brilliant news. We have huge gratitude for both the Harbour team and Paddle logger for making this magic happen. It takes a village, or in this case a town, to make these changes for our planet!”
Plastics are a major problem in the marine environment, not decomposing for hundreds of years and releasing polluting chemicals into the water as they break down into smaller and smaller particles – which enter the marine and ultimately the human food chain.
Falmouth Harbour’s Environment Manager Vicki Spooner said: “It feels really positive to contribute in this small way to remove some of the plastic waste in our local marine environment. I often come across plastic litter when snorkelling and it always saddens me when I see it. Litter gets into the water in many ways – deliberately, carelessly or accidentally. We recently found a mop and plastic glove floating on the surface of the water on a trip across the inner harbour!”
Initiatives already in place in Falmouth Harbour’s 150th Anniversary environmental pledge are extra protection for the seagrass beds at Flushing where the Harbour authority has removed 11 swinging mooring laying over the bed to preserve this important marine habitat.
And, with a message of “Pump don’t Dump”, the Falmouth Harbour team recently unveiled a new £18,000 blackwater facility at Falmouth Haven Marina, which pumps on-board effluent from vessels’ holding tanks and channels it into the sewerage treatment system – avoiding pollution of the sea.
The Seabin Project was developed in Sydney Australia with a mission to “clean up our oceans one marina at a time” – with Falmouth’s new addition joining UK projects including Plymouth, Whitehaven and Lymington.
To follow information captured from the Falmouth Harbour Seabin Project keep a lookout at https://www.falmouthharbour.co.uk/environment/ . For detailed information on the work and services of Falmouth Harbour www.falmouthharbour.co.uk and for more about Paddle Logger visit https://paddlelogger.com/