Introducing Julia, Seabin Volunteer, Sydney (Australia)

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Julia Sydney Volunteer Seabin

Seabin Volunteer, Sydney, Australia

There has already been over 40 committed Seabin volunteers in Sydney alone, all offering their time and passion to support our reporting capacity on the marine pollution of the iconic Seabin harbour. Julia Nicholson is one of them, an environmental engineer who works at an environmental consulting company specialising in contaminated land.

Julia has lived on the Northern Beaches in Sydney, Australia, her whole life and love walking along the beaches, going for ocean swims and snorkelling. Her dog Toby goes everywhere with her, including to help with the Seabin data collections. (And Julia also has a pet chicken that likes running on the beach with Toby the dog!)

Julia and Toby collecting rubbish from the Seabin in Sydney Harbour

What was your motivation for getting involved with the Seabin Project?

I have followed the Seabin Project for a few years and thought it was incredible what they were doing, and I always wanted to get involved. When they installed a Seabin at Manly Yacht Club last year, I thought it was the perfect chance to become a volunteer. I reached out and found the team very helpful and supportive and the work of the Seabin Project so inspiring.

What does your volunteering role involve?

Each week I visit Manly Yacht Club to collect the data from the Seabin. I weigh the Seabin, sort through the catch and record the different types of rubbish, which usually includes soft plastic, food packaging, straws and microplastics. Once the data is recorded, I dispose of the rubbish and email data records and catch photos to Seabin HQ – this information is added to the database so we can see marine pollution trends.

I find it incredibly shocking to see how much rubbish is captured during a 24hr period, especially after a summer weekend or rainfall events and if the current/wind are moving in the direction towards the Seabin.

Julia sorting through Seabin contents and documenting

What message do you have for others that could make a difference for our oceans?

The Seabin Project is amazing and definitely needed, however it is one piece of the solution – we also need to reduce (hopefully at some point eliminate) single use plastics and stop rubbish from entering our waterways in the first place.

Practical things everyone can do to help reduce rubbish making its way into the oceans include:

  • eating in instead of getting take away food
  • saying no to straws, especially plastic ones
  • taking your own containers and bags when shopping
  • join in or organise beach clean-up days with your friends and enjoy the sunshine and sea breeze while you do it
  • whenever you see rubbish pick it up and prevent a sea creature from swallowing it
  • (added cheeky note from the Seabin team: and become a Seabin volunteer!)

Lastly, I encourage people to invest in renewable, sustainable and environmentally friendly companies and technologies so they can grow and expand. It is companies like Seabin that are saving our planet.

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From the Seabin Project team, thank you SO much to Julia who has been instrumental in providing crucial reports to local authorities in early 2021. Passionate people like Julia are helping the global community of ocean advocates to make significant changes on a daily basis. Thank you Julia!