USP launches its first Seabin

The University of the South Pacific’s School of Marine Studies (SMS) joins a global seabin  movement this week by launching its first  seabin at the Marine Campus in Laucala, Suva.
Seabins are essentially floating bins, which provide practical and tangible solutions to reduce the plastics found in our oceans. Created by Australian surfer and philanthropist, Pete Ceglinisky, a seabin processes 25,000 liters of seawater per hour, removing rubbish and micro plastics and filtering chemical pollutants such as oil.
Fitted to a pontoon, the submerged bin uses a pump to suck rubbish from the sea surface.
The seabin was originally purchased by Bing Gibson from Seabin Fiji and is managed by Carl Probert of Fiji World Olympian Association. Mr Probert approached Marine Pollution Masters student, Andrew Paris for collaboration with USP.
Launching the Seabin Project, Director of SMS, Professor Ciro Rico congratulated the team.

“This is a great research tool for data collection and we applaud the collaboration between SMS staff, students and the rest of the team that assembled the seabin, including partners from the sporting fraternity,”, Prof Ciro said.

He said the seabin deployed at the university’s jetty would help researchers in the field of ocean pollution, micro plastics, as well as in waste management projects at the university.

Under the supervision of Dr Chinthaka Hewavitharane, Mr Paris and Postgraduate research student, Alex Kwaoga assembled the seabin and pontoon using recycled waste materials.

“Ocean pollution has become a major problem in our region and I am confident that this Seabin Project will be the beginning of a combined effort to amplify the urgent need to save our oceans and seas from all kinds of litter”.

“The bin catches everything floating in the water and I check the bin on a daily basis and I use the garbage collected for my research,” Mr Kwaoga, the Solomon Island research student said.

Dr Chinthaka acknowledged the support and collaboration from the Fiji Surfing Association and the Athletes for the Environment (AFTER) in the lead up to the installation of the seabin.

“The Seabin Project is a prime example of what can be achieved when concerned individuals and academic institutions like USP team up to find innovative solutions to save our planet”.

“ At the end of the research we expect to gain insights into the amount and types of anthropogenic waste that has been deposited into the inshore Laucala Bay area as well as gauge the replicability of the project for other sites around Fiji,” says Dr Chinthaka.
Representing AFTER and the various sporting associations, Fiji Olympian, Carl Probert said the joint effort by AFTER and the various sporting institutions and USP’s School of Marine Studies to explore solutions to marine litter and its negative impact on the environment is a great success.
After months of planning and preparation, the seabin was mounted to a newly constructed pontoon with the aid of Institute of Marine Research (IMR) technicians, Luke Rogoyawa, Timoci Varinava and Ramesh Prasad.
Upon deployment at the USP School of Marine Studies Jetty, the device was trialed for several days with some fine-tuning required. Research work began on October 2 and is expected to run through the month of October.
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