The Lake Erie basin is home to a new network of electric litter skimmer devices, called Seabins. Keep Ohio Beautiful (KOB) is working with partners across the Lake Erie watershed to help install, maintain and monitor our four (4) Seabin devices, all thanks to several grants from Keep America Beautiful (KAB).
The Seabin device, a product out of Australia, works 24/7 to collect marine debris from the surface of the water, much like a pool skimmer that’s electrically operated. Each device can remove up to 1,000 lbs. of marine debris a year, meaning that the four (4) devices installed along the Lake Erie watershed will have the potential of removing up to 4,000 lbs. a year. Even more than that, the devices will also filter out gasoline, oils, and microplastics from the water.
“Until now, all of our work has only been able to prevent microplastics in our waterways, so we are thrilled to be making an effort to actually mitigate microplastics out of the water,” said Michael Mennett, Executive Director for KOB. “We’re grateful to Keep America Beautiful and to our partners who will be maintaining and recording Seabin data to make this trailblazing project possible.”
The Seabins are currently installed and maintained primarily by marina staff along Lake Erie. As part of the grant, each Seabin site will document the amount and types of litter collected so that the data can be analyzed.
- Geneva State Park Marina, Geneva
- Oasis Marinas at Port Lorain, Lorain
- Catawba Island Club, Port Clinton
- Keys Marina, Put-in-Bay, South Bass Island
We're hopeful that we can turn this tide of freshwater plastic around by collaborating with partners like the Ohio Sea Grant, Ohio Clean Marinas, ODNR, and others to urge the public to reduce single-use plastics, recycle the rest and join in cleanup efforts that help improve our water quality.
All four (4) Seabin devices have been funded through grants from Keep America Beautiful, who first introduced KOB to the Seabin device. Leading up into 2020, Seabin devices had been used in Australia, Europe, and Asia for years. A Seabin distributing company known as The SEArial Cleaners based out of France approached Keep America Beautiful about introducing Seabins to the United States. The national nonprofit then selected three KAB affiliates to test a Seabin pilot project on different bodies of water: one along an inland lake (Keep Ohio Beautiful), one oceanfront site (Keep New Hanover Beautiful), and one inland river (Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful).
KOB will be compiling the litter data reported by each site. Our goal is to use the data to hopefully identify litter trends and sources so that new steps can be taken to stop litter flow into our waterways.
Our goal is to work ourselves out of work, and coming at the litter from different angles such as litter prevention and education, physical litter cleanup, and now electric-powered filtration of our waterways will help us achieve that end game. When you look at all of the partners who came together to make our Seabin network possible, it’s obvious that we’re all determined to protect our precious natural resources, Lake Erie, the most beautiful of our Great Lakes.