Locale : Global (English)

24 November 2021

Mott MacDonald sponsors a Seabin for boatfolk in Penarth Marina, Wales

Mott MacDonald has sponsored an innovative floating plastic waste basket that has been installed in Penarth Marina, Cardiff for boatfolk. The Seabin is a revolution in ocean cleaning technology created by two Australian surfers. It is based on the simple idea of building a sustainable floating bin that can collect water borne rubbish, 24 hours a day.

Marinas and ports are the perfect place to start helping clean the oceans because there are no huge open ocean swells or storms, and there is a relatively controlled environment. Wind and currents constantly move floating debris around in the sea whilst in harbours the predominant wind and current directions mean areas are more consistently polluted. The Seabin moves up and down with the tides collecting all floating rubbish. Water is sucked in from the surface with a submersible pump capable of displacing 25,000 litres per hour and passes through a catch bag inside. The water is then pumped back out leaving the litter and debris trapped inside until it can be disposed of properly.

The team at Penarth Marina already regularly collect rubbish around the harbour, including water borne debris. The Seabin will support this work by providing additional capacity to collect up to 20kg of waste, that could be 90,000 carrier bags or 50,000 plastic bottles, 35,700 disposable coffee cups or 117,000 plastic utensils. It can also skim the surface for oils and pollutants as well as microplastics, which the harbour team cannot collect. Mott MacDonald will ensure staff from the Cardiff office visit the harbour regularly to help empty the Seabin.

Stuart Jones, Penarth marina manager, said: ‘’At boatfolk we take our environmental responsibilities very seriously. As a boating business the coastline is our lifeline, and we need to protect it for the generations to come. Our current focuses are marine wildlife, ocean plastics, clean water and renewable energy. We’re doing what we can to minimise our environmental impact and helping our community make positive changes too. Because we can’t be experts in everything, we work closely with charities and environmental partners that have goals aligned with ours and are already doing great things to protect the environment.

We are looking forward to installing the Seabin at Penarth Marina and working closely with Mott Macdonald to identify what material is finding its way into the watercourse and then look at why and then how to minimise this. Most of the UK’s Seabins have been installed in coastal locations. This Seabin at Penarth will be one of, if not, the first installed where we can look at the issues of microplastics etc in a freshwater location.’’

Ecology Technical Principal at Mott MacDonald, Joanne Bates, said: “I am very proud to be involved in the Seabin project, working with boatfolk, in a place that has been a huge part of my history. I remember regularly picking my father up from fishing boats in the basin in Penarth Docks and later the Marina and remember the amount of pollution in the water especially petrochemicals. The Seabin, although small, it is mighty and will help with the collection of the petrochemicals, microplastics and larger debris that collects in the Marina. We have already seen a marked improvement in the water quality and reduction of debris in the Marina. At Mott MacDonald we like to see our corporate social responsibility projects come to fruition and make a difference, there are plans for more projects such as more Seabin’s and others in the future.”

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