B.C.’s pristine coastline isn’t as pristine as we like to think.
Oil, plastic, cigarette butts, cups and water bottles are all too easy to spot along our shores.
“Micro-plastics and plastics in the environment, and in the water specifically, are a major concern to eco habitats and to sea life around the world,” says Odai Sirri of Poralu Marine.
But a canister around the size of a garbage bin called a seabin could be the solution.
Mounted on the side of the dock, it sucks in all the surface gunk and garbage.
“What it is is a catch basket with a pump,” Sirri explains. “Think of it as a pool skimmer almost, but for seas and oceans, so it cleans out plastics, micro plastics, garbage.”
This is the first one in B.C., and one of the first in Canada has just been installed at North Saanich Marina by Oak Bay Marine Group as part of its environmental plan.
An absorbent pad means the seabin also traps fuel.
“We all now how just a drop of gasoline can spread quite a distance so collecting all those surface oils is really important,” says Oak Bay Marine Group’s Brook Castelsky.
Believe it or not, each of the small seabins can collect up to 1.4 tonnes of garbage and debris in a year — removing pieces as small as two millimetres up to larger items like bags and water bottles.
It was invented by two Australian surfers fed up with seeing pollutants in the ocean every time they went out.
And the technology’s now making a splash all over the world.
“I’m hoping this takes off throughout the coast of British Columbia,” says Castelsky. “I think the small steps we take today will certainly lead to a lot more impact in the health of our oceans going forward.”
Seabins — which cost $7,000 each — will be installed at Oak Bay Marina and Pedder Bay Marina next week.
Ladysmith Marina will be next and the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority says Fisherman’s Wharf will also be getting one, cleaning up our oceans one marina at a time.