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Boy challenges minister on marine environment - and gets a result

A six-year old boy who asked for sea bins because he was worried about the amount of plastic and rubbish in the sea yesterday saw his request in action.

Jake Stevens, from St Bernard’s First School, and Education and Environment Minister, Dr John Cortes, were on hand to see the new sea bin in operation at the Small Boats Marina.

Jake often goes for walks past the Small Boats Marina with his parents when he noticed the amount of plastic and rubbish in the sea.

Jake, who wants to be a “Minister Firefighter” when he grows up, told the Chronicle he raised his concerns with Dr Cortes because there is “a lot of plastic in the water”.

During a visit to his school, Dr Cortes spoke about plastic waste and its effect on the environment, and Jake took this opportunity to put his request forward.

He asked Dr Cortes to install four new sea bins around Gibraltar, and yesterday saw the first of two installed and in operation.

“I am worried about the turtles and the fish in the sea, they eat up the microbeads in the toothpaste as well,” Jake said.

“I am very happy to see the sea bins.”

Jake’s advice for people throwing rubbish in the sea was: “No, you know there is a sea bin right there.”

“Put it in the bin otherwise the sea bin will collect it.”

Jake was given a demonstration of how the sea bin works by environment officer Clive Crisp, who explained to him where the two sea bins will be located in the Small Boats Marina.

Along with his teachers and mother, Jake was surprised to see the sea bin in action after getting the chance to switch it on from the mains.

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At first, Dr Cortes was surprised by the request for additional sea bins.

He said: “Knowing how aware children are thanks to the work by the schools, really in retrospect, I should not really be surprised because they are so aware.”

“But being challenged in this way to provide four more sea bins after we have one elsewhere, I had to stand up and agree to it.”

This is the first sea bin installed by the Government but the first sea bin in Gibraltar was installed in Ocean Village Marina last year.

Two sea bins will be installed in the Small Boats Marina on both sides in areas that accumulate rubbish, while another two will be installed in Cormorant Wharf Marina.

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The sea bins will be strategically placed and are designed to skim and filter out rubbish and floating debris.

At present they are emptied out four or five times a day.

Dr Cortes said these sea bins are manufactured in Italy and his ministry will install them once they arrive on the Rock.

In addition to these four, the government says it has received assurances that the MOD will install a further three sea bins and Ocean Village has said it will also install three more.