See Bin Sea Change and the Tidal Bin Project -Helping to clean up our Oceans
By Dr Elizabeth Clutton
I had been working at the Institute of Marine Sciences for a couple of months, when an email landed in my account, advertising an environmental charity “Sea Changers” and how to apply for grants if you have an environmental project they can support. I quickly asked around to see if anyone was interested in putting together a grant proposal with me, and I had a lot of support. We put our heads together and came up with a project to build a tidal bin to attach to the floating pontoon located in Langstone harbour, Portsmouth.
As active marine researchers we are keen to promote conservation awareness and contribute towards the global ocean clean up by developing a tidal bin for removal of marine litter. Over 75% of the harbour water funnels through the channel twice a day creating a huge potential to harness this tidal power to help remove marine litter. We think the tidal net will be unique as it is powered using green tidal energy only with no reliance on an electrical pump. We will visit the pontoon weekly to remove litter and return it to the Institute of Marine Studies (IMS) laboratory to identify. Waste collected will either be sorted for possible recycling or disposed of appropriately. Once the tidal bin has been installed and routine litter collections are in place, we will be able to profile the types of waste collected and record this for comparison over time.
As part of the tidal bin project we wanted to raise awareness of the plight of our oceans and the marine plastic pollution problem which is gaining awareness. For this, I collaborated with Zoe Morrall and Sarah Long who are part of the “Capturing our Coast” project at IMS, and Tom Greenwood the environmental network coordinator for the University of Portsmouth. Together we created the “See Bin, Sea Change” event held at The University of Portsmouth on the 1st December, which was a great success.
Over 20 contributors hosted stands in the foyer of Eldon Building, there were talks from 8 speakers representing scientific research and commercial projects from Southern Water and LandRover BAR, it was certainly an evening of fun educational talks.
We have had great feedback from visitors on the night, highlighting the things they have learned and how people will now start to think more about the plastic they use and how they can reduce their dependence on non-recyclables. In addition, to contributors hosting stands, and talks from invited speakers, we also had a plastic puppet display, hosted by the University of Portsmouth Drama department, a “Wall of Research,” informing people of the diversity of research into marine plastic pollution being conducted around Europe, and a “Wall of News, “ demonstrating the media streams gaining momentum on this subject. There was plenty to keep visitors occupied! T
he event was such a great success, researchers at IMS are already starting to make plans for See Bin 2 event, if you are interested in getting involved, please email Elizabeth.firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.