8 million tons. 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into the ocean every year. In general, the world’s population produces 300 million tons of plastic per year, only half of this number used a single time.
History and Facts
When did this excessive plastic use start? The birth of our modern plastic era was in the year 1907 with the invention of “Bakelite”, the first synthetic plastic made of fossil fuels (Knight, 2014). Thenceforward, increasingly different kinds of plastic were developed and are used in almost all fields and areas of life. Of course, plastic has some positive attributes: it is very cheap and adaptable. The other side of the coin predominates and looks more shocking.
Here are some facts about the use and lifetime of plastic:
- A simple plastic bottle needs 450 years to be decomposed
- Packaging is with over 40% of total plastic usage, the largest end use market segment
- Approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used annually worldwide
- More than one million bags are used every minute
- A plastic bag is used in average for only 15 minutes
- Over the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the whole last century
In addition, the amount of time plastic needs to be decomposed is shocking. Also, the fact that we harm and endanger the environment, as well as our own life and health. The fish and animals eat plastic, because they mistake it as food or entangle themselves into it. Thus, many species are threatened with extinction and the plastic is also attacking our food chain (Plastic Oceans, 2017)
As you could observe in the last few years, some countries started to deal with the subject of ocean pollution and their government introduced laws to reduce the plastic bag usage. Also in Germany, people now must pay to use plastic bags. As a result, a lot of companies began to behave environmentally responsibly and started autonomously to offer cloth or paper bags instead of plastic.
Indeed, there are already a few existing methods, addressing the oceans’ pollution, so-called “trash boats”. It is about boats which drive around harbors while scooping up floating garbage. Unfortunately, they are very expensive to run and to maintain (Ceglinski, 2016).
After four years of development, the two Australians Andrew Turton, a surfer, sailor and boat builder and Pete Ceglinski, an industrial designer and surfer, finally introduced last year an
invention, that helps to solve and prevent the oceans pollution problems and makes them cleaner: Seabin.
How does Seabin work and why is it special?
Seabin consists of a cylinder, which is located in the water, fixed to a floating dock while one end is on the water’s surface.
A water pump on the shore creates a flow of water into the bin, that brings rubbish with it.
The rubbish is caught and stored in a catch bag, made of natural fiber and the water is then pumped back into the ocean.
This new ocean cleaning system can run for 24 hours a day, are easy to empty and with a price of around $3,800 a cheap and worthy investment. It is mainly targeted to harbors, ports, yacht clubs, inland water ways, lakes and rivers. Of course, also business or boat owners with an own marina may be interested in their proper Seabin (Griffith, 2015). Where is the difference to the already existing “trash boats”? Due to the fact, that they are much smaller than a boat, they can reach almost every corner in a marina. It is a solution and a prevention at the same time. Seabin works very effectively 24/7 without harming sea animals. It does not cost much, nor is there a need for a lot of maintenance. Furthermore, there is the possibility to fit an oil/water separator to the system (Ceglinski, 2016).