How a 12-year-old helped clean Dublin’s waters through Seabins

In these turbulent times, where anxiety for the planet’s welfare is stirring up a frenzy amongst the young and old, I think it’s fair to say that a lot of us can feel pretty helpless at the Sisyphean task before us. 

Sure, we recycle, use paper straws and try perhaps to cut down on our meat intake, but one local girl put us all to shame last year when she made a huge splash that created the ripple effect we all needed.

Flossie Donnelly, twelve-year-old eco-warrior, climate change activist, blogger and community champion, has shown how efforts on a grassroots level can make monumental changes. 

The then eleven-year-old was responsible for raising $4,000 which was used to install the first-ever seabins in Ireland. 

Since then another three have been installed, most likely inspired by Flossie’s tenacity.

So, what is Seabin?

The Seabin V5 is the 2014 brainchild of Pete Ceglinski and Andrew Turton, two Australian surfers who, after years of personally witnessing the contamination of our oceans, came together to create a proactive solution. 

The fish-friendly bins, 100% recyclable and sustainable materials, are installed in harbours where they skim the water’s surface and suction in floating debris, including microfibres as small as 2mm. 

The bins even contain oil absorbent pads which allow them to clear other kinds of harmful water pollutants which are particularly prevalent in marines, such as fuels and spillages from boats. Talk about efficient!

A single Seabin can catch an estimated 3.9 Kgs of floating debris per day or 1.4 tons per year. Each day the equivalent of almost 2,000kg a day is caught collectively by the world’s 719 seabins, which is basically the weight of a hippopotamus.  

So far there has been an estimated 114,916kg captured to date.   

Water pollution is a growing global issue and being aware of it is more important than ever. Look out the window some time if you’re on the ferry or passing the river in the car. How much rubbish can you see?

The problem with plastic in the oceans affects you way more than you realise. If you eat fish, studies are starting to suggest that you may be consuming up to 11,000 bits of plastic a year (Ghent University research, 2014). 

That’s right! Fish eat the plastic we put in the ocean, essentially making plastic part of our food chain.

If you would like to help make a change, don’t be deterred by the overwhelming nature of it all. Just look at what Flossie did. And she’s still at it. 

In fact, you can join her on one of her monthly beach cleans (weekly in the summer months). The council now even supplies gloves and bags for the clean-ups.

It acts like these that go to show that small acts all over the world can inspire others to come together and make a change. Who knows what we could achieve next with the right attitude? Maybe you could be responsible for Ireland’s next seabin.

If you want to find out more about the Seabin Project, check out their website at And if you want to find out more about Flossie’s beach cleaning club follow her at!



Leora Mansoor
Leora Mansoor

Leora is a freelance journalist who is currently working for Babylon Radio, covering all things current and cultural

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