Water pollution is a global issue that needs immediate attention. Every day, a large amount of plastic and chemical waste find their way to the ocean, through the rivers and local water bodies. Result in ocean pollution. It is painful to take a look at the plastic waste scattered on the beaches. Various companies have tried their hands at screening the waste materials out of water bodies, but they all ended up intruding marine life, and also restricted the movement of water vessels.
Consequences of Water Pollution (source: unsplash.com )
A rising company from the Netherlands, The Great Bubble Barrier, has figured out a unique way to combat plastic pollution in the ocean.
About The Company
The Great Bubble Barrier is a start-up based in Amsterdam, co-founded by Francis Zoet, Saskia Studer, and Anne Marieke Eveleens. They have come up with an innovative solution that helps in controlling sea pollution.
Ocean Pollution Solution & How It Works
The company’s brainchild, the bubble barrier is a sustainable idea that can soon take over the world, thanks to its eco-friendly nature and pragmatism.
Bubble Barrier (Source: https://thegreatbubblebarrier.com/en/ )
The Great Bubble Barrier creates two invisible walls in the water bodies that prevent plastic from passing through. Two bubble barriers are placed diagonally in the downside of the river. A tube is installed at the bottom of the river. By pumping air through this tube, a shield of bubbles is created. This barrier helps in keeping away the plastic waste in water from entering the oceans. The upward current keeps the waste afloat, and the turbulence that is generated in water prevents them from floating away into the ocean.
The plastic waste accumulates on the sides of the river. They are collected using a catchment and removed from the water.
In the past, people have tried to solve the problems of plastic pollution in the ocean, but all of them obstructed the free movement of boats, ships, and marine lives. With Bubble Barrier, there is no such risk. Fishes and other inhabitants of water can swim through with ease. It also doesn’t stop the movement of boats or ships. It only keeps the plastic floating on the surface of the water, so that it does not flow down the river.
The Mechanism of The Bubble Barrier (Source: https://thegreatbubblebarrier.com/en/ )
Besides controlling the pollution of water, the bubble barrier brings in aeration to water. It helps in increasing the amount of oxygen content, which, in turn, rejuvenates the underwater ecosystem.
The company also aims at keeping a check on the plastic waste and tracing their sources.
Where Can You Use This Solution?
Since marine pollution is such a major concern now, the municipalities in different parts of the world are actively taking measures to remove plastic waste from canals, rivers, etc. With The Great Bubble Barrier, the process becomes much easier. The bubbles from downstream will keep the plastic waste afloat so that it becomes easy to detect and remove them. A number of animals inhabit the canals, and plastic poses a threat to their existence. With the bubble barrier, the ecosystem of the canals will thrive, as there will be more oxygen supply to the water. The flow of bubbles won’t cause any disturbance to the animals living there, and it will also not restrain the activities of boats and ships. It’s high time that the different countries of the world start implementing such solutions if they are aiming at controlling water pollution from plastic.
2. At Drinking Water Sources
The bubble barrier can be effective in keeping the drinking water sources free from plastic waste. If we can trace and remove the waste at the source, it will be possible to get pure and fresh drinking water for everyone.
3. At Natural Reserves, Rivers and Oceans
Bubble Barrier can be used for keeping ocean pollution in check. Natural reserves are not free from the clutches of pollution. If you implement the solution offered by The Great Bubble Barrier at natural parks, not only will you be able to remove plastic waste, you will also help the natural inhabitants of water to flourish. The oxygen level of the water will increase, which will prevent the growth of toxic blue algae. Ships also cause a great deal of harm for water and the inhabitants of the water. Bubble barriers, if installed in the oceans, can contain some of the turbulent waves and loud sounds. This will reduce the harmful impact of sailing on marine life.
How Much Does It Cost to Install The Great Bubble Barrier?
Building a barrier of bubbles within a river is not an easy task. Besides immense research and brainstorming, it also requires a hefty amount of money to install this in a water body. On November 6, 2019, the Great Bubble Barrier started off its journey at Amsterdam’s Westerdok quay, and it took about €100,000 to implement it. But considering its long-term benefits, and positive effects on the environment, the solution is worth it.
Pros and Cons of The Great Bubble Barrier
Like every other solution, The Great Bubble Barrier has its own share of advantages and disadvantages.
- Sustainable way of preventing water pollution due to plastic waste
- Smart utilization of water currents
- Prevents plastic from flowing to the oceans
- Does not stop the ways of ships and boats
- Doesn’t obstruct the movement of fishes and other marine lives
- Easy to implement
- Moves plastic and other waste materials to the side of the rivers, canals and other water bodies
- Brings the hidden insoluble waste to the surface of the river
- Helps in increasing the oxygen content of the water
- Eco-friendly solution
- It is easy to monitor the effects of the solution
- Covers the entire width and depth of the river
- The project is expensive to execute
- The bubble barrier does not work on plastics that are smaller than 1 mm
The world has begun to embrace this sustainable solution to control plastic pollution in the ocean. The Great Bubble Barrier has two pilot projects to their credit.
Amsterdam has already implemented the solution curated by The Great Bubble Barrier, as a 3-year pilot project (2019-2021). The project is commissioned by the leading municipal authorities of Amsterdam. Tests have shown that the bubble barrier can prevent about 86% of waste materials from floating into the ocean. Although the solution doesn’t work on plastics that are very small, it has the potential to bring in a major transformation. The bubble barrier in Amsterdam controls sea pollution, by preventing the floating waste from the Amsterdam Canal to reach the North Sea. At Westerdok, the plastics accumulate, and they are removed from the water with a catchment.
As you are already aware, the bubble barrier is effective for plastics larger than 1 mm. But the Wervershoof pilot project aims to research and establish that the barrier can also intercept microplastics.
Bubble Barrier at Wervershoof (source: https://thegreatbubblebarrier.com/en/ )
This research will investigate how The Great Bubble Barrier can overcome their limitations at different levels.
As a part of this project, a bubble barrier has been built in Wervershoof, at a wastewater treatment plant. The plan is to observe the impact of the bubble barrier on plastic that is between the sizes of 0.5 mm to 0.02 mm.
The Great Bubble Barrier has offered a practical solution to a global problem. The company aims to control and collect plastic waste and also aspires to create a collective awareness among people. Mindlessly dumping plastic bags, cups, and other waste materials on water bodies are slowly contaminating the water, and the day is not far when there won’t be any water body that is untouched by pollution. Plastic in the oceans is a major threat to the underwater ecosystem. As responsible citizens of the world, it is our duty to contribute towards building a sustainable and pure space for our future generations. The Great Bubble Barrier offers one small step towards this larger mission.
For more information about the company, or if you want to set up this solution for your region, here are the contact details of The Great Bubble Barrier.
Address: Amsterdam, Noord Holland, 1021 KN, NL