Are you tired of seeing plastic waste littering our oceans and waterways?
Well, a Dutch startup may have just found a solution that is as innovative as it is low-tech: bubble barriers.
The Great Bubble Barrier, created by a team of ocean lovers in the Netherlands, uses a simple system of bubbles to collect plastic waste from rivers and prevent it from reaching the sea.
The technology involves a perforated tube that is laid diagonally on the riverbed, which pumps a continuous stream of bubbles into the water, creating a curtain that guides plastic waste toward the riverbanks.
The waste can then be collected and properly disposed of before it reaches the ocean.
It may sound too good to be true, but the Great Bubble Barrier has proven to be remarkably effective. The technology can intercept up to 86% of flotsam in inland waters before it reaches the sea, including plastic particles as small as 1mm.
With an air compressor running on renewable electricity, the system operates 24/7, allows aquatic life and river traffic to pass unhindered, and works regardless of water levels.
The first bubble barrier was installed in Amsterdam in 2019, and it has prevented around 8,000 pieces of plastic from reaching the North Sea each month.
As Francis Zoet, co-founder of the startup, explains, “Rivers are the highway to our oceans, transporting pollution all the way there. Our Amsterdam system is preventing 8,000 pieces of plastic from reaching the North Sea each month. But we don’t plan to stop there: the first international systems are on the agenda, and we can’t wait to tackle pollution across our borders.”
The Great Bubble Barrier is a reminder that sometimes, the simplest solutions are the best. The technology not only addresses the problem of plastic waste in our waterways, but it also does so without disrupting aquatic life or river traffic.