Bubble Barrier Could Prevent Plastics from Entering the Oceans - 16/09/2019

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A Dutch company says it has found a bubble-based solution for the tonnes of plastics that enter the oceans from rivers and canals. The company produces a bubble screen by pumping air through a tube with holes in it, which is located on the bottom of the waterway. The Bubble Barrier, as the system is called, creates an upward thrust, which brings waste to the surface of the water. Positioned diagonally in the waterway, the Bubble Barrier uses the natural current to guide the plastic to the catchment system at the riverside. Ships and fish can bypass the barrier, but plastic will be stopped.

Stop More Plastic Than Current Solutions

The Great Bubble Barrier offers solutions for different problems, the developers say. It catches more plastic than current solutions in flowing water because it can reach plastic ( > 1mm ) in the total width and depth of a river. A barrier can be placed anywhere, whether in wide rivers or narrow canals. 


The concept has been extensively tested in collaboration with Rijkswaterstaat (the Dutch National Institute of Infrastructure and Water Management), Dutch research institute Deltares and Dutch contractors BAM/van den Herik. The first insights came while testing the concept in the flumes at Deltares in May 2017. "At the end of 2017, we realized a Bubble Barrier of 200 meters at the Dutch city of Kampen situated on the borders of the river IJssel. For three weeks, the research team showed that the Bubble Barrier works under all Dutch autumn weather conditions and that it catches 86% of all used test material on average," the developers of the system say. 

Great Harm to the Environment

Plastic waste is being dumped in the waterways, where it brings great harm to the environment – including human beings. Aquatic animals get tangled in plastic, microplastics pose a health risk from the smallest to the largest organisms and ships suffer damages. This increasing problem is recognized by different institutions worldwide, such as the United Nations, EllenMcArthur Foundation and the World Health Organization. "We have designed a solution that intercepts plastics in rivers and canals before it reaches the ocean", the Great Bubble Barrier team states.

About the Great Bubble Barrier

The Great Bubble Barrier is a Dutch start-up located in the north of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. "We are proud of our growth, mentality and the impact we can achieve. To make the rivers free of plastic, we always need talented and motivated pioneers who can support this mission and want to change the world with their own hands."

Detailed information can be found at https://thegreatbubblebarrier.com

Last updated: 23/09/2019