Does Amsterdam Bubble Barrier stop floating plastic waste?

Posted on 29 Nov 2019

No less than 90 percent of the plastic waste in seas and oceans worldwide flows from ten rivers. In Amsterdam, a pilot project was started in a dock to propel plastic waste to the surface and shore with a wall of air bubbles so that it can be removed.


Every year, the waste boats on the famous Amsterdam canals bring 42 tons of floating (plastic) waste on board. The water from those canals flows to the Westerdok. A new technique will now be tested there for three years to remove plastic waste from the water. In this way it can be prevented that it flows into the North Sea via the river IJ. The Bubble Barrier is a hollow tube with holes that is placed diagonally to a bank on the bottom of a river or dock. When air is pushed through the pipe under high pressure, air bubbles rise and form a kind of wall that pushes the plastic waste upwards. At the water's surface, the plastic waste ends up on a floating platform, which can be emptied ashore.

Even more benefits

The Bubble Barrier may be primarily designed to remove plastic waste, but this technique has other advantages. In this way, the Bubble Barrier does not disturb the navigation traffic and also does not affect fish. Moreover, the air bubbles absorb the sound of the boats, which is often disturbing for the fish. Finally, this method brings a lot of oxygen into the water and thus prevents the growth of algae.

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© Photo The Great Bubble Barrier

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