Seabin Project Volunteers: Mario – Sydney City Pilot Program Volunteer

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Mario - a Seabin Project Volunteer

The Seabin Foundation is proud to count incredible human beings as part of a growing network of volunteers across the world.  Through a casual interview, we shine some light on Mario’s story, a dedicated Sydney-based volunteer.

A mechanical engineer by day, Mario spends his downtime enjoying the ocean-side lifestyle Sydney has to offer – free/scuba diving, swimming and surfing. Born in Peru, he has lived in Australia for 25 years and is passionate about preventing plastic pollution in our waterways.

Mario. underwater - Seabin Project Volunteer for the Sydney Pilot Program

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

About a year and a half ago, I saw some posts on social media through another environmental charity I follow, 4ocean. I was really impressed with the Seabin concept, and being from a mechanical engineering background, I was immediately attracted to the awesome technology behind the bin! I kept an eye out for their updates and after a while, emailed the Seabin Foundation to see how I could get involved as a volunteer.

I love the environment and get out to the ocean almost every day but I see so much plastic pollution, waste on shorelines and animals caught in fishing lines. I really wanted to help correct this and give back for all the enjoyment I receive.

I’m so happy I’ve joined a committed team working on a worthwhile challenge. I’ve found them well-organised, supportive and I’ve felt looked after from the beginning.

What does your volunteering role involve?

I’m in charge of picking up data from the Seabin at CYCA – a fancy yacht club on Sydney Harbour – which host six Seabins at their marina. Every Friday morning I empty one Seabin, count the rubbish, separate it out (including the tiny micro plastics that get stuck to seaweed), clean the oil pad and dispose of all rubbish in land bins. I submit the data via email so it goes toward the large data set being captured for the City of Sydney pilot program. Part of the job is looking for trends and although I’ve been doing it for only three months, I’ve seen many more gloves and face masks in the catch which I don’t think would usually be found in the harbour.

Data capture is the biggest task and it’s time consuming. Little bit of time out of my day helps the overall project. And importantly, I hope the City of Sydney sees the benefit of the pilot and takes on the responsibility of managing waste in Sydney Harbour themselves!

I see the work of Seabin as completely necessary which, for me, makes it a rewarding experience – I feel like I’m doing my bit. And to be honest, being out on the water early on a Friday morning in a lovely location is not the hardest task in the world!

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

From my experience, one person can make a real difference, so don’t be afraid to speak out about things you see could be changed for the better or the receptions you may receive. In my office, I was concerned about the lack of proper recycling so I requested they implement a better recycling system in the business. They did and I feel we’ve taken one step closer to helping the environment.

On top of my work with Seabin, my friends started the ‘SeaBees’ – an ocean and beach clean-up crew who go out every second weekend. Although the task is daunting and seems never-ending, I know we are making a difference to the environment.

From the bottom of our heart at Seabin Project, thank you Mario and all Seabin volunteers!