THE GREAT BUBBLE BARRIER

The Great Bubble Barrier stops plastic waste from polluting our oceans, by using a bubble screen to direct waste to the side of the river or canal. 

TARGET USERS: Government

KEY CONSIDERATIONS: Pilot tests in the Netherlands successfully directed up to 86% on average of all test material to the banks of the river.

    MORE INFORMATION: https://thegreatbubblebarrier.com/en/


    Collections: BEST PRACTICES, COLLECTION


    THE PROBLEM

    Much of the waste that our society produces ends up in the water, where it damages marine and human life. This problem is recognized more and more, both by the general public, municipalities and government. Can best can we capture plastic waste before it reaches the oceans? The current solutions that stop waste in rivers have two major drawbacks; they block ship traffic and/or hinder fish movement.

     

    THE SOLUTION

    The Great Bubble Barrier is a simple solution that blocks waste in the river, but also allows the passage of fish and ships. By placing two bubble barriers (or air screens) diagonally, the product blocks plastics from moving downstream, and makes clever use of the current of the river to direct the waste to the banks. It creates a bubble barrier by pumping air through a tube with holes, placed on the bottom of the river. The upward current that the bubbles generate brings the waste to the surface, and the turbulence stops the waste from flowing downstream. The waste gathers on the side of the river, where it can easily be collected. The fish slalom allows fish to pass the barrier unobstructed. The system also brings aeration to the water, increasing oxygen levels and improving the health of the ecosystem.

    With these features, the Great Bubble Barrier meets all the important conditions: it doesn't hinder ship traffic, fish movement or the natural workings of a waterway.

    The Great Bubble Barrier offers a solution for different problem owners: it can help governments meet changing regulation on waste management in waterways, but also help cities fight plastic problems in their waters, and help waterboards to save on their cleanups after high water.

     

    ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS

    Booms and hard installations that cross rivers, canals and other waterways can serve to collect and restrict the flow of plastic downstream. However, both of these solutions can inhibit boat traffic and/or fish movements.

     

    CASE STUDY EXAMPLES

    In November 2017,  a pilot was launched  in the river IJssel with Rijkswaterstaat, Deltares and BAM/vdHerik. And the results: The Great Bubble Barrier directed 86% on average of all test material to the banks of the river.

    The City of Amsterdam is home to The Great Bubble Barrier. See pilot here: https://youtu.be/Nh5o2waLjGQ

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