MARINELAND, Fla. — What if there was a vacuum cleaner that sucked up the pollution in our waterways?
Well, now there is one. The first one in North Florida has just been installed in Flagler County at the Town of Marineland's marina.
"It’s been in for 8 or 9 days," Maia McGuire of Florida Sea Grant said. She just installed a newfangled contraption called a sea bin.
She said, "It’s a bucket that sits in the water."
It's indeed a fancy bucket that gently sucks in water, trash, and debris.
It traps the trash and flushes the water back out.
The dockmaster empties the bin daily, and so far the sea bin has collected 1-3 pounds of trash and debris every day.
The sea bin looks like and acts like a wet vac for the marina. And, it’s also specially designed to not suck in animals only trash and debris.
"It’s amazing," Elizabeth DeWitt said. She is the President of the Florida Beverage Association. It and the American Beverage Association footed the $20,600 for three sea bins to be placed in Florida.
And yes, the sea bin slurps up plastic soda and water bottles.
"We are trying to get those bottles to be turned into new bottles and not end up in places where they don’t belong like rivers, waterways, and oceans," DeWitt said.
The Sea Bin Project says each sea bin has the capability of catching 16,500 plastic bottles a year and 90,000 plastic bags a year.
Sea bins are all over the world but there are very few in Florida. McGuire said they cost about $6,000 a piece, including shipping.
The goal is to slurp up trash at marinas before it gets to the oceans as well as "to encourage people to change their behavior to reduce the amount of debris that ends up in the water in the first place," McGuire noted.