The Great Bubble Barrier

A lot of waste ends up our waters, where it damages marine and human life. We believe plastic waste can be caught before it reaches the ocean. Current solutions to stop waste in the rivers have two major drawbacks; they block ship traffic and/or fish movement. We found a solution that doesn’t have either: a barrier of bubbles.
We create a bubble barrier by pumping air through a tube with holes, placed on the bottom of the river. The turbulence of the bubble barrier stops the waste from flowing downstream, the upward current pushes the waste to the surface. By placing the bubble barrier diagonally, we make clever use of the current of the river to direct the waste to the banks. On the river bank the waste can easily be collected with for example a conveyor belt. The Great Bubble Barrier offers a solution for different problem-owners: we can help governments meet changing regulation on waste management in waterways, but also cities, provinces and waterboards fight plastic problems in their waters. The visual attractiveness of the bubble barrier allows open communication and increases awareness about the plastic soup. July 1st 2016 The Great Bubble Barrier won the first prize in the Plastic Free Rivers Makathon; together with Rijkswaterstaat, Deltares and BAM/vdHerik we are realizing a pilot around the river IJssel this summer.