Amsterdam is attempting out a “bubble barrier” to help eradicate plastic from the town’s canals by capturing trash hidden underneath the surface of the water.
While the venture started in November is only a small-scale test right now, the start-up behind it hopes it could be deployed elsewhere, if successful.
Because the tube lies diagonally across the canal, the bubbles work with the flow of water in the canal to drift the waste and then shuttle it into a collector on the facet.
Bubbles don’t intervene with passing boats and do not pose a big obstacle for fish or birds.
“A bubble barrier is a hose that we place on the bottom of the river or canal that has holes in it, and we pump air through it; that creates a bubble veil,” said Francis Zoet, the Great Bubble Barrier project’s technical director.
While Amsterdam already has four boats that accumulate nearly 42,000 kg of plastic every year, the boats can solely pick up the garbage on the surface, and a few smaller objects are missed altogether.
Rivers are a major channel of plastic pollution into the world’s oceans, carrying as much as 4 million metric tonnes of plastic to the sea annually, based on estimates by the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Germany.
A Dutch non-profit has begun a system to accumulate surface river trash utilizing floating obstacles.
Zoet of the Amsterdam bubble mission said the two concepts are complementary. “We assist every initiative that’s targeted on reducing the plastic soup”, she mentioned.