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The Great Bubble Barrier: a smart solution to plastic pollution

The Great Bubble Barrier: a smart solution to plastic pollution
Source: Youtube/TheGreatBubbleBarrier

The Bubble Barrier is a curtain of air bubbles that prevents plastics and trash from floating down rivers into the ocean, while allowing wildlife and shipping to pass freely.

A barrier made out of bubbles that prevents plastic and trash from flowing down river into the sea

Three women from The Netherlands have a common mission: to stop plastic pollution in rivers and streams from reaching our seas and oceans. The Great Bubble Barrier is a developmental idea which uses a curtain of air bubbles to do just that.

Passing shipping, fish and other marine life unafected by Bubble Barrier Create a bubble screen by pumping air through a tube with holes located on the bottom of the waterway. The upward flow of the bubble barrier brings waste to the surface of the water, and the turbulence stops the waste from continuing its path to the sea. Passing shipping, fish and other marine life are unaffected. Source: Facebook BrightVibes

Bubble Barrier focuses on source of problem of ocean plastic waste: rivers

The Great Bubble Barrier addresses the problem of plastic pollution in our oceans by focusing on the source: canals, rivers and channels. 

Anne Marieke Eveleens, Saskia Studer and Francis Zoet are on a common mission to stop plastic pollution in our rivers from reaching our seas and oceans. Starting at home with the delta of The Netherlands, they hope the idea spreads to the rest of the world.

Plastics and trash floating down canals and rivers is an ever growing problem. Too much human waste is dumped in our waterways and it brings great harm to the environment and to human beings. Sea turtles and fish get tangled in plastic, ships suffer damages and micro-plastics pose a health risk from the smallest to largest of organisms. 

UPDATE: the great buble barrier has won the postcode lottery green challenge!

This amazing innovation has just won the postcode lottery green challenge for most promising sustainable innovation. 

Are you an entrepreneur with an innovative start-up that contributes towards a more sustainable planet? Enter the Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge, one of the largest annual international competitions for bright entrepreneurs that successfully combine sustainability, entrepreneurship and creativity. Pitch your start-up to win €500,000 and six months of expert coaching. Registration closes on 1 May 2019.

Are you an entrepreneur with an innovative start-up that contributes towards a more sustainable planet? Enter the Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge
Great Bubble Barrier won the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge Are you an entrepreneur with an innovative start-up that contributes towards a more sustainable planet? Enter the Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge Source: Postcode Lottery Greenchallenge
The Great Bubble Barrier has found a way to block plastics and allow passage of ships and fish. It uses a bubble barrier: a barrier made of air, which directs the waste to the side of the canal or river using the natural current and captures the plastic debris before it enters our oceans.

By recovering the plastic waste early in its long “pollution career” the company minimizes its negative impact on the environment. It also recovers a valuable resource and brings it back into the plastic value chain, reducing the need for virgin plastic materials in the future and thereby reducing CO2.
Stop plastic debris from entering our oceans The Great Bubble Barrier has found a way to block plastics and allow passage of ships and fish. It uses a bubble barrier: a barrier made of air, which directs the waste to the side of the canal or river using the natural current and captures the plastic debris before it enters our oceans.

By recovering the plastic waste early in its long “pollution career” the company minimizes its negative impact on the environment. It also recovers a valuable resource and brings it back into the plastic value chain, reducing the need for virgin plastic materials in the future and thereby reducing CO2. Source: Green Challenge

“Plastic waste should be caught before it even the chance to reach the oceans.”

This problem is increasingly seen and recognised by municipalities across the European Union. The question is, how to capture the trash without disrupting marine life and shipping vessels?

The Great Bubble Barrier has a solution: a barrier made out of air bubbles that prevents plastics and trash from flowing down the river! By utilising a river’s current, a strategically placed Bubble Barrier provides sufficient resistance to direct trash to shore where it can be collected and removed.

By placing two diagonal bubble barriers, the team were able to utilise the flow of water to direct waste to the river’s edge. They created the bubble screen by pumping air through a tube with holes along its length, located on the bottom of the waterway. 

The upward flow of the bubble barrier brings waste to the surface of the water, and the turbulence stops the waste from continuing its path to the sea. The waste collects on the side of the river, which makes it accessible for removal, for example by a conveyor belt. 
With the help of a fish slalom, fish can easily pass the barrier without any problems. The system also ensures aeration of the water, which enriches the ecosystem. With these features, the team say their system meets the most important conditions: it has little effect on shipping, fishing and the natural functioning of the delta.

You can keep up with all the latest news on their Facebook page.

Make an Impact

Win €500,000 for your green startup

Are you an entrepreneur with an innovative start-up that contributes towards a more sustainable planet? Enter the Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge, one of the largest annual international competitions for bright entrepreneurs that successfully combine sustainability, entrepreneurship and creativity. Your idea should be ready to go to market within two years. Pitch your start-up to win €500,000 and six months of expert coaching. Registration started 1 March 2019 and closes 1 May 2019.