The Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) is reporting positive results from the trials of the prototype of its ocean-cleaning device dubbed ‘Jambin’.
An innovation out of the CMU’s recently established Centre for Blue Economy and Innovation, the device is designed to collect debris from the sea.
“It is a reinforced household bin, a floating device, which is attached to a dock or jetty in the sea around the CMU,” explained Vice-President for Global Affairs and Executive Director of the Blue Economy centre, Ambassador Joachim Schmillen.
“In our case, we are using an air pump and PVC pipes to produce a suction effect so that every piece of floating debris… around the waste bin will be sucked in,” he said.
The bin is partially submerged and contains a mesh to catch debris, which can then be emptied once full.
On February 22, in a test of the efficacy of the air pump to produce sufficient eddy to pull water into the bin, the Jambin prototype caught its first piece of debris.
Ambassador Schmillen said that “on that day, we had very harsh wind conditions and high waves around the CMU and in the marina (Royal Jamaica Yacht Club), but the prototype sucked in the debris against the conditions”.
“The challenge of wind and waves is not so difficult. It is not a technical problem in itself; it is because of the resistance level of the material. The biggest challenge we have at the moment is finding the material that can, for a long time, withstand the harsh conditions of the sea. We would like to use material like fibreglass to construct a more resistant waste bin,” he said.
The Jambin technology was adapted from the ‘Seabin’ invented in New Zealand to remove debris, particularly plastic bottles, from the sea.
Ambassador Schmillen noted, however, that the local innovation goes further.
“The original Seabin uses a water pump, but we are using an air pump because we would also like to use Jambin in our oyster project later. The air pump is producing something called nanobubbles, which are enriching the water around it with oxygen, and this stimulates sea life,” he explained.
More than 30,000 oysters will be used to clean and improve the water quality of the Kingston Harbour under a pilot project being undertaken by the CMU Centre for Blue Economy and Innovation.
Oysters are natural purifiers, and a single adult oyster can cleanse about 50 gallons of water per day.
Since 2014, oysters have been employed to rebuild oyster reefs in the waters surrounding New York City.