Council's £30k plan to clean up local coast with seabins
A Northern Ireland council is taking an innovative approach to clearing up rubbish along our coastline.
Ards and North Down is set to become the first council here to use high-tech floating seabins.
The decision to purchase 10 of the bins, costing a total of £30,000, is expected to be ratified at the full council meeting later this month.
It is understood they will be located around the North Down and Ards peninsula coastal harbours and marinas.
The floating bin moves up and down with the tide, collecting rubbish from the surface. Debris is trapped, to be disposed of properly, and clean water pumped back out into the sea.
Stephen Addy, head of regulatory service at the council, said he hopes it will pave the way for other councils along the Northern Ireland coastline to follow.
"This is a global issue and one that affects all council areas along the coast. It's an issue we're determined to take seriously," he said.
"Already we have an army of volunteers tackling litter issues on beaches and around our towns, but the sea was a barrier we haven't been able to tackle properly until now.
"We hope we're showing a clear intent to tackle the issue of litter, no matter where it is.
"The next step is to have the purchase ratified at council, then get the bins up and running.
"We will have to look at the best locations for them."
Mr Addy said the council will assess the areas most in need of the seabins.
He added: "It's also important to stress the seabins are being paid for by the council's recycling community investment fund, thanks to the recycling of food waste by the people who live in our council area.
"It's the most modern technology we can get for protecting our coastline, which is of vital importance to North Down and the Ards peninsula.
"As a borough with 110 miles of coastline and which draws tourists as a result of its waterways, harbours and marinas, this initiative will help in our fight against the eight million pieces of plastic that find their way into our oceans daily, making the sea a cleaner and safer place for both residents and local marine wildlife."
DUP councillors Alastair Cathcart and Tom Smith said they had been pressing for the bins for some time.
Mr Cathcart said: "I work on the ground in Bangor and councillor Smith is from Donaghadee, so we're both in areas where the seafront is crucial to the livelihood of residents. We want it to be looking as good as possible.
"We're delighted the council's environment committee has agreed the purchase of 10 seabins to tackle marine litter.
"We're all aware of the huge environmental issue that marine litter has become.
"This is a small step in tackling a massive problem, but I am pleased that the council is going to play its role in this way. As the council is trying to sell Bangor and the borough as a coastal destination, it is important that we look after the marina and the coastline and ensure that it is looking its best.
"Once the bins are in place, we hope to see a substantial volume of coastline litter collected."
Seabins can collect up to half a ton of debris each year and have the potential to collect a percentage of oils and pollutants floating on the water surface.
At the moment, just over 200 bins are in operation globally.