Last week, it was announced that the Department of Natural Land and Resources are going to put trash-collecting Seabins into the notoriously polluted Ala Wai Boat Harbor in Waikiki. Initially, this will be a six-month trial to see if the technology works and how cost-effective it is. If the trial works as expected, however, the hope is that Seabins will be deployed across the state.
Seabins are, essentially, trash cans for the ocean. How they work is rather simple. The Seabin rises and falls with the tide, while a pump pulls water into the device. As the water gets sucked down through the bottom, debris gets trapped in the netting, and voila, the ocean is that much cleaner. The netting can capture micro-plastics as small as 2mm in diameter. Each Seabin can hold up to 20 kg of trash. Over the course of a year, each Seabin captures about 1.5 tons of garbage a year!
The machines, however, do have a real human component. It's recommended Seabins get emptied twice a day. They also need to be cleaned once a month and given regular maintenance. This seems to be the "catch," but over in Oahu, two private companies, Hawaii Volcanic Beverages and Hawaii Glass Bottom Boat Tours are partnering with the state to provide maintenance.
While it would be great to have Seabins launched across all the open waters surrounding the state, at this early stage of development, they need to be powered using a conventional AC outlet, meaning the Seabins need to be tethered to a dock. So, initially, the Seabins will need to be used in and around harbors with direct sources of power.
Will Seabins be deployed in Maui? We'll find out in about six months...
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