Seabins – Are they a good idea and who should pay for them?

Seabins – Are they a good idea and who should pay for them?

These days we have heard about introducing Seabins in our marinas and maybe bays. It is said if we have rubbish bins on land why not have them in the ocean? I like the idea.

What I do not like is that they also mentioned that there is going to be fundraising ventures for such Seabins to be purchased.

I have no idea who is going to be targeted but I am a little bit weary to donate or pay for cleanups of others. So let me give you some information about Seabins for those readers who are interested and do not have time to Google.

The V5 Seabin unit is a floating debris interception device designed to be installed in the water of marinas, Yacht Clubs, ports and any water body with a calm environment and services available. The Seabin can catch an estimated 1.5 Kgs of floating debris per day (depending on weather and debris volumes) including microplastics up to 2 mm small. 1/2 tons of debris/year.

How does it work? Water is sucked in from the surface and passes through a catch bag inside the Seabin, with a submersible water pump capable of displacing 25.000 Lph (litres per hour), plugged directly into 110/220 V outlet. The water is then pumped back into the marina leaving litter and debris trapped in the catch bag.

The catch bag can hold up to 20 kgs of debris and it is advised to be checked twice a day and emptied as needed. The Seabin needs to be cleaned at least once per month and to be checked regularly.

Seabins - Are they a good idea and who should pay for them?The Seabin is installed in a specific “Debris problem area” in the marina on a floating dock. This strategic positioning enables the wind and the currents to push the debris directly to the Seabin. Currently, the water pump energy consumption is around $1.00/day

This is a synthesis of the information I managed to easily find and there are many videos if one would like to see a demonstration of it working. I believe that the people who are most littering the waters should pay for these Seabins and not us who do not have a boat a Yacht or a Sailing boat in the Marinas.

The most litter these Seabins have collected is cigarette butts. ‘Very well mind’ ( has declared that cigarette butts are a Plague on our Planet.

Surprisingly, 77 percent of people in a survey by KAB responded that they didn’t think of cigarette butts as litter. Toxin-filled cigarette butts are carelessly discarded into our seas.

Studies conducted by Clean Virginia Waterways have shown that just one cigarette butt in approximately two gallons of water is lethal to water fleas. Those tiny bits of tobacco left attached to cigarette filters add more toxins to the filters.

Should the Government put some extra taxes to buy, say 100 Seabins? Let’s do some sums. Let’s say that there are 50’000 smokers in Malta. ( 100 Seabins cost €270’000. If 2 cents are taxed then €1000 could be collected daily and in a year that will amount to €356’000.

Problem solved. I do not have to solve the other problems of who will pay for the electricity and wages for operators because I guess that is already covered. I just wanted to shift the Fund Raising Campaign from the general public to the most who litter – smokers who litter with cigarette butts complete with the plastic wrapping and the silver inside and also the cardboard box.

A year ago Matthew Vella wrote an article on a local paper stating that Contraband Cigarettes could be costing the Malta €19 million in lost tax. In this article the writer urges us thus: “Every euro in excise lost on contraband cigarettes is a euro stolen from government coffers that would otherwise be spent on health, education, pensions and childcare. It is in the interest of honest taxpayers to assist Customs by calling 2568-5124 on our 24-hour hotline or 24568-5200 during normal workdays.”

But can we afford to be honest taxpayers when there is so much money involved? Wouldn’t the honest citizen be putting himself and his family in fatal danger? Can we trust the people behind the given numbers?

I am not stating anything, only that if the Government really wants to see an end to this theft a better system has to be introduced. In olden days the secrecy in confession used to give positive results.

What do you think?”

Anthony Zammit,


Photograph: Anthony Zammit

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