Technology offers promising solution to remove plastic pollution from rivers in the Netherlands

Bubble barrier technology was created and placed in the Oude Rijn river in the Netherlands to help prevent plastic pollution from reaching the ocean. The bubble barrier is a barrier where a 120 meter stream of rising bubbles, together with the water current, push the plastic waste to the side so that it can be collected.

Source: The Great Bubble Barrier/Youtube

Dutch startup, The Great Bubble Barrier, had a pilot project in a canal in Amsterdam in 2019 and led them to secure €470,000 in investment to finally build their river bubble barrier.

“We place a perforated tube at the bottom of the waterway, at an angle, then pump in compressed air: the rising air bubbles create an updraft that will lift the plastic from the water column to the surface, then on the surface – with the flow of the river – everything gets pushed to one side,” says Philip Ehrhorn, Chief Technology Officer at The Great Bubble Barrier. “Here we get the flow from the pumping station, or the wind can also push the waste into the catchment system.”

Source: Claar-els van Delft/Youtube

Plastic is a growing problem in the region, with the Oude Rijn river carrying the waste into the oceans. The great thing about the bubble barrier is that it does not harm animals and will not prevent fish migration. However, most plastics do not enter the ocean through rivers. Although this is a great help, it cannot be the only solution.

Overall we produce 300 million tons of plastic each year, 78 percent of which is NOT recovered or recycled. Around 8.8 million tonnes of plastic are thrown into the oceans every year! 700 marine animals are threatened with extinction due to the threat posed by plastic in the form of entanglement, pollution and ingestion. 50 percent sea ​​turtles have plastic in their stomachs. By 2050, 99 percent of all seabird species will have ingested plastic waste. According to a World Economic Forum studythere will be one tonne of plastic for every three tonnes of fish by 2025, and if business as usual there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050.

Learn more about how companies love Facebook, Tupperware, Google, Dove, Budweiser, Carlsbergand FIJI Water are working to reduce plastic pollution. places around the world like Tel Aviv, California, Baltimore, Scotland, and many others ban various single-use plastics, and others offer creative ways to recycle and use plastic waste.

Some products you use or your habits can contribute to plastic pollution. Learn more about using tea bags, Q-tips, Laundry, Contact lenses, Shine, and Sheet masks pollute our oceans so you can make more informed decisions in the future. There are also many simple gestures and switches that can help eliminate plastic from our lives, including making your own beauty products, shampoo, toothpaste, soap, household cleanersusing jars, reusable bags/bottles/strawsand avoiding microbeads!

To learn more about the impact of plastic waste, please read the articles below:

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Bryce K. Locke