Thursday, June 20, 2024
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Bubbles prevent plastic waste from floating out to sea

A ‘curtain’ of bubbles in a canal in Amsterdam is preventing plastic waste from making its way to the ocean.

“Behind me you can see the bubble curtain of our system. We think this is really the last chance to catch plastic in our canals before it ends up in the oceans. From there it will disperse and a part will return to our beaches, a part will sink into the ocean and disintegrate into smaller and smaller pieces”, explains the creator Philip Ehrhorn.

Amsterdam has 150 km of canals and there is a lot of plastic waste in them. The creators of the barrier estimate that it will stop 86% of pollution from flowing into the river and then towards the sea.

“We put a tube with holes under the water and then apply pressure to it. Through the holes, small air bubbles rise to the surface creating an upward current that causes the plastic to float on top of the water and direct it to the capture system. We find plastic bottle caps, cups, parts from food jars, styrofoam. The latter is found everywhere”.

A pump keeps the barrier running 24 hours a day. The material is then collected by the city’s waste barges.

A bubble barrier is also planned for Portugal over the next year. This solution does not end the problem, but it helps prevent it from getting worse.



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