Giving Gloucester a solution to pollution

We're launching two projects that will enhance Gloucester - bringing greenery to, and removing rubbish from, the water around the historic Docks.

Two people in a boat placing reed beds by water Launching the floating reed beds in Gloucester Docks

Our volunteers have planted dozens of aquatic plants in a floating pocket-sized reed bed that will add a wildlife-friendly splash of greenery in the Barge Arm. Meanwhile a new Seabin will be hard at work sucking up plastic and litter 24/7/365 as it floats in the corner of Victoria Basin.

What are Seabins?

Seabins, invented in Australia and usually found in oceans, act as a floating rubbish bin skimming the surface of the water and intercepting floating debris, macro and micro plastics and even micro fibres. The Seabin is also able to clean the water of the contaminated organic material that is not normally possible to retrieve from the canals.

The Gloucester Seabin is the first on the Trust’s 2,000 miles of waterways and it is already earning its keep – in just one month it has collected over 80kg of plastic and other detritus, saving the charity around £700 in manually collecting litter that has blown into the Docks. Trust volunteers are keeping the Seabin afloat and regularly emptying it.

Beth Dando and Amy Pickford from Young Gloucestershire with the Seabin in Gloucester Docks

Adding greenery to the scenery

We're partnering with Young Gloucestershire, who support young people who are facing difficult times, to analyse data from the Seabin. Our volunteers are recording the types and quantities of material removed by the Seabin. It is hoped that, over time, this will show that the Seabin is having a positive impact on the water quality around the area.

While the Seabin is cleaning the water, our volunteers are working to introduce more greenery into the area by planting up special pontoons with fast-growing reeds and flowering plants. The 5.5m2 reed bed will soon be attracting birds and insects and giving shelter for the fish in the Docks. The beds will include a variety of reeds and sedges with added colour from yellow flag irises, purple loosestrife and other flowering plants. They are made from 100 percent recyclable, non-toxic, environmentally friendly materials by Scottish firm Biomatrix Water.

Bringing wildlife to urban areas

Mark Evans our Wales and South West director explains: “We have seen how successful these floating reed beds have been in bringing wildlife into urban areas on other parts of our canal network and were keen to plant some of our own in Gloucester. It is especially important as the Docks give people living, working and shopping here a place to get closer to nature and enjoy a breath of fresh air.  And the Seabin is helping us to keep the water rubbish-free.

“We know from our own research that being by water is good for health and wellbeing and we want to make the canal a more attractive place both for people and wildlife, this reedbed and Seabin will help to do that.”