The Seabin Project

St Martin of Tours’ Episcopal Church in the Gorgie/Dalry area or Edinburgh has an active Eco-Group keen to share news and encourage support for its Sea Bin Project. Liz Moir writes:

2020 was the Scottish Year of Coasts and Waters which focussed particularly on the inland waters and the seas which surround Scotland. Last June St Martin’s Eco-Congregation group had hoped to visit the Coasts and Waters exhibition at the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther, Fife but travel restrictions prevented this. Still, it gave us food for thought which led to the St Martins Eco-Group considering a project to help combat the increase in plastic waste contaminating our oceans and waters.

One of our group, Stuart Campbell, came up with the idea of funding a Seabin – a device which looks rather like a long tube, containing an automated pump which draws water through the tube, catching the plastic debris in an internal net which can then be retrieved and disposed of. It also has a sponge which will take in a small oil or diesel spill. The Seabin can be bolted onto a pontoon in a harbour or marina (see photo attached) so it can move with the tide helping to keep the water clear of debris. It needs to be connected to an electricity supply, and obviously needs regular maintenance to check it is working correctly and to remove the rubbish.

There are at present relatively few in Scotland. The first one was installed in the North East at Banff Harbour. Stuart has supplied a photo from a recent visit.

Another is on the West Coast at Mallaig Harbour and there is a possible for MacDuff Harbour. Hopefully there will be others but in the meantime, we in St Martin’s think this is something worth pursuing.  

First of all we have to find a harbour which would accept the Seabin, which has a suitable source of electricity, and which has staff or volunteers willing to maintain the bin and dispose of the rubbish it collects.  It is therefore necessary that we work collaboratively.

Each Seabin costs around £3000, plus installation charges, which is a significant sum.  As our usual routes for fund-raising at St Martin’s – coffee mornings, home baking, special events, fund-raising lunches, etc – are not feasible at the moment, we will have to find other sources of funding. One option is crowd-funding, but for this to be attractive to donors, we need to find a suitable site for the Seabin, show how it will improve the surrounding water, benefit the harbour or marina, local wildlife and the wider community and visitors.  There are many things to consider but we are already working on a number of these and as we’ve had some encouraging feedback, we hope to proceed with this project.

Should anyone wish to offer advice or guidance please do not hesitate to contact St Martin’s Eco-Congregation Group:

St Martin’s Episcopal Church, 232 Dalry Road, Edinburgh EH11 2JG

This link leads to the short (1 min 50) video which describes the Seabin and how it works.