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Taking Action to Clean Up Oceans and Waterways

3 minute read
Jean de Villiers

Oceans have been a large part of my life since I was very young. From being a child going spear- and line-fishing with my father and grandfather off Mozambique and South Africa to surfing (especially while living in Sydney for 10 years), sailing, and scuba diving throughout my adulthood—the ocean is where I am most inspired and at peace. As the years have gone on, I’ve seen, personally, how waste entering waterways—and specifically the ocean—is now, a significant issue that should be a concern for us all. Oceans and waterways impact all of Earth’s inhabitants because they are shared resources that converge to create a continuous cycle of currents, weather, wildlife and sadly, now, debris.

In my role as Worldwide Vice President of Professional Services at BMC, I decided to do something about protecting oceans and waterways. I wanted it to not only align to technology, but also to be something that made a concrete and measurable difference in the quest to improve the environment and the quality of our oceans and waterways, something BMC has also been doing in alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The result was becoming a corporate sponsor of Seabin™.

How Seabin technology is helping

Seabin™ was started in 2013 by Andrew Turton and Pete Ceglinski, two Australian boat-builders who had an idea “to create a rubbish bin for the ocean that would collect trash, oil, fuel, and detergents.” They christened their invention the “Seabin” and launched their parent company, Seabin Pty Ltd, in 2015.

Since then, Seabin™ has become a clean tech start-up, expanding its network of collection sites and improving on the Seabin design to increase its capabilities. At its most basic functionality, the technology takes water in from the surface of oceans and waterways and passes it through a catch bag inside the Seabin, which plugs directly into either a 110V or 220V outlet and has a submersible water pump that can displace 25,000 liters or water per hour (LPH). The cleaned water is then pumped back into the marina, leaving litter and debris trapped in the catch bag.

As of 2022, each Seabin can catch an estimated 3.9 kilograms of floating debris per day, or 1.4 tons per year (depending on weather and debris volumes), including micro-plastics down to 2 mm in size. With the addition of custom oil pad technology, the Seabin can also skim surface oils and pollutants from the water.

In July 2020, Seabin™ announced a bold plan to tackle the problem of ocean plastics by cleaning up 100 cities by 2050, starting in Sydney, Australia, and using the five pillars of:

  • Data
  • Prevention
  • Education
  • Community
  • Cleanup

After learning about Seabin™’s technology and 100-city goal, I knew I needed to help BMC become an active part of its ambitious initiative.

Doing our part

In March 2022, BMC Software sponsored two Seabins that are gathering debris in Sydney Harbor as part of Seabin™’s first Smart City. A team of BMC volunteers visited the site on World Oceans Day in June to see what’s been captured, learn about the analysis process and what more must be done to improve the health of our oceans and waterways. BMC’s sponsored bins are actively gathering data, and our first data report will be issued this month to demonstrate the direct impact of our sponsorship. Lastly, to show our professional services customers that their investment in BMC is paying it forward, we are dedicating our Seabins in their honor and commemorating their go-lives and project completions with an official Seabin™ thank you certificate.

Seabin in Sydney Harbo

Image of BMC’s sponsored Seabin in Sydney Harbor (Source: Seabin™)

Looking ahead

I’m excited for BMC’s support of Seabin™, especially because each quarter, our Seabin™ collection report will show the direct, positive impact we’re having on Sydney, which is a wonderful, water-focused part of the world. Additionally, this month is “Plastic-Free July” so I will be keen to share more about how much plastic and microplastic material is increasingly affecting our daily lives and how our Seabin is helping.

To learn more about Seabin™, visit seabinproject.com and to find out what BMC is doing in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in addition to our work with Seabin™, check out our comprehensive CSR Report here.

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These postings are my own and do not necessarily represent BMC's position, strategies, or opinion.

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About the author

Jean de Villiers

Vice President, Worldwide Professional Services
BMC Software, Inc.

Jean is the leader for BMC’s Professional Services business – a key component of the overall Customer Success organization. Professional Services comprises of Education, Consulting and Managed Services and contributes to the company’s top and bottom lines. Working in conjunction with a network of key partners, the Professional Services team focuses in on BMC’s most strategic customers, delivering highly advanced solutions to some of the industry’s toughest challenges.

Jean’s experience in leading Professional Services teams spans 27 years and multiple verticals across all continents, except for Antarctica – which is a bucket-list item. He has been with BMC for over 10 years, leading a series of roles across Asia-Pacific, the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Africa and now at a worldwide level. Outside of his extensive general management experience, Jean has a deep background in IT Service Management and is a certified ITIL Master.

Jean is a keen surfer, mountain-biker, occasional scuba-diver and an avid Springbok and England rugby fan. He lives with his two- and four-legged family in the countryside near Bath in south-western England.