Baltic Sea Day: Tallinn gave Ballot Bins to Helsinki and Port of Tallinn

Yesterday, communities along the Baltic Sea celebrated a day dedicated to it. During the celebrations Ambassador of Finland Timo Kantola, Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kõlvart and Chairman of the Board of the Port of Tallinn Valdo Kalm were introduced to Seabin, a floating rubbish bin. During the event The Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kõlvart hand over a gift to the representative of the Port of Tallinn and to the Ambassador of Finland. A special cigarette bin called Ballot Bin, in order to draw awareness to cigarette pollution in the Baltic Sea.

In the beginning of July, a floating rubbish bin - Seabin was installed to Old Harbour. The aim of the Seabin is to collect plastic and other household waste that ends up in the sea. The project came to life thanks to the good cooperation between the City of Tallinn, the City of Helsinki and Wärtsila. 

The Mayor of Helsinki, Jan Vapaavouri said, that the Baltic Sea is one of the most polluted seas in the world and imporving its well-being is one top priority for both cities. “Baltic Sea Day celebrates concrete measures to improve the condition of the sea that connects us. One such example is the floating rubbish bin called ‘Seabin’, which has been collecting small litter on Helsinki coastal waters for several years. It is our responsibility to continue preserving the Baltic Sea through measures like this, thus saving the sea for the generations to come,” said Vapaavuori. 

The Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kõlvart said that the Baltic Sea is a integral part of our identity. “The sea has shaped and connected all those communities and cultures who live on its shores. Also it is a connecting point of two partner cities - Tallinn and Helsinki. With the help of the cooperation between those two cities, Seabin was installed to Old Harbour to fight marine litter and today we have an honor to present Ballot Bins to the City of Helsinki in order to reduce the amount of cigarette filter litter in the sea,” said Kõlvart. “Ballot Bin will also be given to the Port of Tallinn, who is aiming to be a fully climate-neutral port. The Port of Tallinn is our good partner in the process of becoming European Green Capital 2022. We are united by our environmentally friendly approach and realistic actions that both of our cities, as organisations are taking in order to make a change.” 

The Head of the Port of Tallinn Valdo Kalm emphasized that the cleanliness of the Baltic Sea, environmental protection and sustainability are the key points that were taken into consideration when planning the port’s sustainable development strategy. “As a representative gate to Estonia and to our capital we feel responsible. Because of that we have initiated many environmental projects. We are taking into consideration getting Seabins and other technical solutions, so we can keep our sea clean,“ said Kalm.

As a finalist of the European Green Capital 2022 award, fighting and drawing attention to the marine litter is one of Tallinn’s keypoints of the programme. This year the focus is on cigarette pollution - studies have shown that 50% of the plastic pollution in the Baltic Sea comes from cigarette filters. For that reason,Tallinn is engouraging everyone to put the trash where it belongs - in the bin. Soon you will find special bins meant for cigarette butts - Ballot Bins on the streets of Tallinn as well. These will help us reduce the amount of cigarette butts that end up in the sea.

Ballot Bins are fun and interactive bins invented in the UK. The aim of those bins is to encourage people to bin their cigarette butts. The bin allows to ask questions and vote for the favourite answer with the cigarette butts. Taking into consideration that 50% of the plastic pollution in Baltic Sea comes from cigarette filters and 80% of them comes from the mainland, installing Ballot Bins to our streets is very important. Studies from other cities have shown that Ballot Bins have helped to reduce the cigarette pollution by 50-80% depending on the location. Ballot Bins can be found on the streets of Berlin, Copenhagen, Vienna, Dublin and many more.