Bubble barrier technology was created and placed in the Oude Rijn river in the Netherlands to help stop plastic pollution from reaching the ocean. The bubble barrier is a barrier where a 120-meter stream of rising bubbles, along with the water current, pushes plastic waste to one side so that it can be collected.
Source: The Great Bubble Barrier/Youtube
Dutch startup, The Great Bubble Barrier, had a pilot in a canal in Amsterdam in 2019 and led them to secure €470,000 in investments to finally build their river bubble barrier.
“We place a perforated tube on the bottom of the waterway, at an angle, and then pump through compressed air: the rising air bubbles create an upward current that will lift plastic from the water column to the surface, and then at the surface – together with the flow of the river – it is all pushed to one side,” explains Philip Ehrhorn, the chief technology at The Great Bubble Barrier. “Here, we get the flow from the pumping station, or the wind can also push trash into the catchment system.”
Source: Claar-els van Delft/Youtube
Plastic is a growing problem in the area, with the Oude Rijn river carrying the waste into the oceans. The great thing about the bubble barrier is it does not harm animals and will not prevent migration in fish. However, most plastic does not enter the ocean through rivers. While this will be a great help, it cannot be the only solution.
Globally, we produce 300 million tons of plastic every year, 78 percent of which is NOT reclaimed or recycled. Around 8.8 million tons of plastic get dumped into the oceans every year! 700 marine animals are faced with extinction due to the threat that plastic poses to them in the form of entanglement, pollution, and ingestion. 50 percent of sea turtles have plastic in their stomachs. By 2050, 99 percent of all seabird species will have ingested plastic waste. According to a study by the World Economic Forum, there will be one tonne of plastic for every three tonnes of fish by 2025, and if things go on business as usual, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050.
Read more about how companies like Facebook, Tupperware, Google, Dove, Budweiser, Carlsberg, and FIJI Water are working towards reducing plastic pollution. Places around the world like Tel Aviv, California, Baltimore, Scotland, and many more are banning various single-use plastics, and others are coming up with creative ways to recycle and use plastic waste.
There are products you may be using or habits you may have that contribute to plastic pollution. Learn more about how the use of Teabags, Cotton Swabs, Laundry, Contact Lenses, Glitter, and Sheet Masks pollute our oceans so you can make more informed decisions going forward. There are also numerous simple actions and switches that can help cut plastic out of our lives including making your own cosmetics, shampoo, toothpaste, soap, household cleaners, using mason jars, reusable bags/bottles/straws, and avoiding microbeads!
To learn more about the impact of plastic waste, please read the articles below:
- Marine Animals that are Dying because of our Plastic Habit
- Where Plastic Really Goes When You Throw it Out
- 5 Documentaries to make you Rethink Single-Use Plastics
- 6 Million Tons of Single-Use Plastics Get Thrown Out Every Year!
- New Legislation in California Targets Plastic Waste From Online Retailers
- Tiny Turtle Pooped Pure Plastic for Six Days After Rescue From Sydney Beach
- Petition: Research Superworm That Eats Trash and Reduces Plastic Waste
- Seal Pup Won’t Leave Rescuers After They Removed Plastic Wrapped Around its Neck [Video]
- How to Make a Plant Nursery Using Plastic Food Containers
Easy Ways to Help the Planet:
- Eat Less Meat: Download Food Monster, the largest plant-based recipe app on the App Store to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy. You can also buy a hard or soft copy of our favorite vegan cookbooks.
- Reduce Your Fast Fashion Footprint: Take initiative by standing up against fast fashion pollution and supporting sustainable and circular brands like Tiny Rescue that are raising awareness around important issues through recycled zero-waste clothing designed to be returned and remade over and over again.
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- Sign a Petition: Your voice matters! Help turn petitions into victories by signing the latest list of must-sign petitions to help people, animals, and the planet.
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- Do What You Can: Reduce waste, plant trees, eat local, travel responsibly, reuse stuff, say no to single-use plastics, recycle, vote smart, switch to cold water laundry, divest from fossil fuels, save water, shop wisely, donate if you can, grow your own food, volunteer, conserve energy, compost, and don’t forget about the microplastics and microbeads lurking in common household and personal care products!