Collector bins for marine litter – an innovative idea that lives on the island of Silba for a year

Marine litter is a common sight on the beaches of Silba, whether it has been washed out from the ocean, brought by wind, waves or currents. According to the users of these beaches they often lack any form of infrastructure for collecting this marine litter. Therefore, we have secured the infrastructure together because we are fighting against marine litter together!

Marine litter in the sea is not only the one that is on the seabed and which we remove by cleaning the seabed, but also the one that floats on the surface of the sea and due to the action of waves it is often washed out on the beaches. This marine litter is a problem both for the surrounding vegetation of the coastal area and for a number of living communities that spend their developmental stages, and also their life, in this area. Also, people certainly do not want to lie on beautiful beaches while surrounded by plastic bottles, bags, cigarette butts,… To prevent the damage that washed out marine litter can potentially cause, in collaboration with a large number of islanders and visitors to the island of Silba we built last summer collector bins . The locations for the installation were suggested by the islanders and Silba lovers – we decorated the collector bin in Mavrova in cooperation with the artistic-ecological platform Silba Environment Art, the collector bin in Lojišće was decorated by members of the Silba Society for the Protection of Natural and Cultural Heritage, while the collector bin in Pernastica Bay was decorated by local children.

At three locations on Silba, we have set up bins for collecting exclusively marine litter that have been washed out from the sea – waste that we generate ourselves, dispose of ourselves ! The bins are wooden and each installed bin for marine litter contains clearly marked “instructions for use” and a QR code, by scanning which the Company receives an e-mail about the need to empty it. In this innovative way, we have enabled the regulation of their occupancy and their timely emptying.

With this initiative, every visitor to the beach becomes a participant in the project and continues the philosophy behind the ecological cleaning actions!

Collector bins are a temporary infrastructure for marine litter collection and at the same time an educational tool! Collector bins have been “working” very successfully for a year now, and we have already emptied them on several occasions! Take a look at what they look like after a year of activity in the following photos!

The collector bins greeted us on a sunny afternoon, filled to the top! We emptied them of marine litter together with our volunteers and set up new collection bags and new instructions for use as the old ones were a bit “worn out” due to the weather conditions. We would like to once again thank our dear friends from Silba who emptied the bins on their own initiative and informed us that the bins were full and encouraged you all to do the same – many thanks to Jolet Robi and Natasha!

Silba is a specific island in terms of the use of such beaches that are relocated from the settlement and there is no easy possibility of organizing cleaning actions, and due to exposure to strong winds, they are almost constantly washed out with marine litter! The users of these beaches – islanders and visitors are the ones who can keep these beaches to be clean – by using collector bins responsibly! Therefore, it is extremely important that beach users DO NOT DISPOSE of their private waste in bins, but only and exclusively marine litter! The construction of the bins and their beautifully painted sides withstand the weather very well and have fulfilled their purpose – they are filled with alluvial marine litter while the beaches are relatively free of marine litter! Unfortunately, the bin in Lojišće Bay had damage to the lid, which we repaired very quickly, but it was also the target of several individuals who left their “signatures”.

The activities of this program are part of the Society’s 20000 Leagues initiative “TOGETHER AGAINST MARINE LITTER” and the lasting result of the 2019 project “Action of cleaning and monitoring of marine litter on the seabed in Silba” (Silba shines with clean shorelines!) Society 20000 Leagues co-financed for Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund and the City of Zadar.

“With every drop of water you drink, every breath you take, you’re connected to the sea. No matter where on Earth you live…

Sylvia Earle

In 2020, we will continue with the activities from the initiative “Together against marine litter!” new projects “Clean ports, clean sea” and “Ghost net hunting”. We are still looking forward to the future in a society with more educated citizens who will be more aware of their use of disposable plastic, reduce it and understand the role of each individual in how waste ends up underwater and on beaches and how to reduce this phenomenon! The responsibility is on each of us, and the most important lesson we must learn and understand is that we live surrounded by one sea, one ocean.

The Silba underwater is part of the Natura 2000 ecological network and a site in preparation for being declared a significant landscape. The conservation of the Silba underwater needs to be maintained and improved, but there are many threats to the conservation of biological and landscape diversity. We would like to include all of you in our joint effort to soon bring to life the MARINE PROTECTED AREA – THE UNDERWATER OF SILBA!