Businessman hopes ‘Seabins’ are solution to Ala Wai Harbor’s trash problem

Updated: Jun. 13, 2019 at 5:31 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The trash that accumulates at the Ala Wai Boat Harbor is a smelly and disgusting reminder that everything that gets into the water upstream goes to the ocean.

On a recent weekday, all sorts of garbage ― even syringes ― can be seen in the water.

“So much refuse comes out of the canal and after storms it all gets pushed into that one little condensed area,” said Jason Donovan, CEO of Hawaii Volcanic from Kauai.

Donovan spent $12,000 to buy and bring two so-called Seabins to Oahu, and has applied for state permits to install them in a marina.

Seabins are floating garbage bins with a pump that filters out debris and plastics.

“It really cleans the water. It brings out all the junk. It’s amazing,” he said.

“A couple of surfers in Australia came up with it and they’ve created basically a recycling can for the ocean. It very slowly sucks in oil and plastic and debris that’s floating around a marina,” he added.

Hundreds of Seabins are in ports around the world.

The work to install one at Ala Wai Boat Harbor comes as volunteers are trying to do what they can to keep the water clean. People like Fernando Torres, who’s not part of any organization but comes to the harbor once a week to pick out trash from the water with a pool net.

"I just care about the world and I just want people to be aware of what plastic is doing to the ocean. How bad it is. It's killing the ocean life," said Torres.

The Seabin Hawaii Pono Project needs a non-profit partner to essentially empty the trash and maintain the bins and Torres says he's signing up to volunteer.

The Seabin Project plans to do an Oahu demonstration in mid-July.

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