Citizen Science Program and Data-led Storytelling
The Seabin Citizen Science Program relies heavily on the generosity of volunteers to provide valuable data on Seabin catches.
The power to change the world lies in our people
Each Seabin has the power to tell a story through its catch, but we need your help. Community members are invited to obtain their Seabin Data Volunteer Certificate to assist with the ongoing data monitoring program of the Pollution Index™. Seabin reporting provides detailed data review outlining the types and quantities of litter collected.
Seabin Foundation manages the Pollution Index™ through volunteers, interns, university collaborations or a servicing agreement. This data is used to tell a story about the local priorities to reduce plastic pollution. It is then collated to amplify awareness of the issue and report to the community, to empower and inspire change for a cleaner, better future.
Our data can change the world
We must stop plastic from entering the ocean
The rate and volume at which land-based pollution enters our oceans and the evolution of marine debris accumulation in our oceans is recognized as a global problem. Accumulation of pollution in the marine environment and the areas in which marine debris aggregates has been well documented. In 2015, Approximately 9 million tonnes (MT) per annum of land-based plastic pollution was entering the marine environment and this figure is estimated to increase to 250MT per annum by 2025.
Understanding a problem helps to prevent it from existing in the first place. Through knowing what Seabins collect in specific areas, communities are called to put in action their most proactive initiatives and call on their local authorities to put better policies in place. This is how we turn off the tap of plastics entering waterways, by reducing its leakage at the source. This may be through refusing single use plastics, replacing plastics with alternative material, improving waste collection processes and innovating with better design and circular economy. Everyone in the community can play a role in the prevention of ocean pollution.
Data Collection Overview
Seabins are regularly emptied, most commonly on a daily basis (every 24 hours).
The Seabin catch bag is removed from the Seabin, whilst the pump is turned off.
There are two Seabin models, the V5 and the 6.0. The V5 can hold up to 36L of marine debris and the 6.0 holds 57L, including organic matter which is consistently contaminated with microplastics, microfibers, and small pieces of polystyrene. After data is collected, the whole catch is therefore discarded and labeled as marine debris for comparison purposes among the Seabin fleet reporting.
Data collection information is recorded on the Pollution Index (TM) mobile app or manual data form.
Data collections indicate the composition and diversity of the types of plastics and marine debris that Seabins capture.
Other variables are recorded such as the last rainfall, wind strength and direction, and in some cases, water quality such as pH, dissolved oxygen, conductivity (salinity), and temperature. These are only available through the Seabin 6.0 DMU*, which is equipped with sensors.
*Data Monitoring Unit
The catch is weighed in kilograms then spread out on a Pollution Index(TM) tarp or sheet for data collection.
Large items and macroplastics are visually assessed, if the count of macroplastics in the catch is greater than 50, the microplastics sampling method is adopted for the entire catch (see Estimated Microplastics Count - EMC protocol). If the macroplastics count is less than 50, all macroplastics are removed and placed in like groups on the Pollution Index™ A4 data sheet board to be counted and catalogued. The remaining catch is then analysed for microplastics, using the EMC protocol.
The EMC protocol uses subsampling to estimate the quantity of microplastics present in the Seabin catch.
The catch is divided into 16 equal squares, each measuring 250mm x 250mm. A square is randomly selected using a random number generator, between 1 - 16. The Pollution Index™ data frame is then placed on the randomly selected square and all microplastics and microfibres within it are collected, catalogued and counted.