Defence removes tonnes of waste from Sydney Harbour

sydney harbour

New Australian technology is helping to clean Sydney Harbour and show how more plastic and other pollution can be removed from waterways.

Trials of new Seabin Smart Technology at Sydney Harbour Defence sites have removed 2920 kilograms of plastic, fuels and detergents from Sydney Harbour in the past 12 months and plans are underway to expand the technology.

Sussan Ley, Minister for the Environment visited Garden Island where the Seabin trial has been removing 140 kilograms of waste per week, including one item of plastic every 40 seconds.

Melissa Price, Minister for Defence Industry and Minister for Science and Technology said the Defence trial had exceeded all expectations and that three permanent units would be maintained at Garden Island.

“Over a two-week period, the Seabins captured 6198 items of waste from Sydney Harbour, including 3500 microfibres and microplastics, and 2000 unidentifiable pieces of plastic waste,” Price said.

“This is Australian technology which costs as little as $1 a day to run and which can have huge dividends for the environment.”

Ley said the one-year trial involving Defence and its industry partners, Veolia Environmental Services, was another example of the Morrison Government’s commitment to tackling waste and recycling.

“As people spend time outdoors and on our waterways at this time of year, it is a great time to focus on the role we can all play in protecting our environment,” she said. “We can’t keep putting plastic in our oceans and it starts by getting our waste into the recycling bin where it belongs.

“We have made waste and recycling a national priority and it is one that requires us all to get involved. Industry is certainly stepping up at the same time and innovative technology like the Seabin is another important example.”

David Sharma, Member for Wentworth said that the project would have benefits for beaches across the Harbour’s east and that the success of the trial on Sydney Harbour would help focus all Australians on the importance of keeping waterways clean.

“Sydney Harbour is one of the world’s great waterways and this technology is an important sign of our commitment to keeping it that way,” Sharma said.

“Defence has always been a part of the Harbour landscape both through current sites like Garden Island and our former Defence Sites now managed through the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust.”

Seabins act as a floating garbage bin, skimming the surface of the water and collecting litter. During a two week period at Sydney Harbour Defence sites a total of 6198 pieces of litter were collected, including 1937 microfibres (plastic fibres derived from rope), 1779 microplastics , 1021 unidentified soft plastic items, 293 foam pieces, 135 soft plastic food packaging/wrappers, 101 pieces of fishing line, 33 plastic straws, 23 hard plastic packaging such as cups and 23 plastic bags.

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