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The Great Bubble Barrier

Written by: Hendrik

Category: Eco-Tech, News

Updated on:


Do you think we can bubble up the plastic trash from the rivers?

That’s right, air bubbles, just like when you fart in your bathtub, just a lot more, bubbles I mean.

I am sure you have heard about the OceanCleanUp Project by now? 

The attempt to clean up the ocean’s gyres from plastic is a very honorable one. A big, perhaps impossible task to juggle, but definitely worth trying. 

Now, also from the Netherlands, we have the Great Bubble Barrier.

I love finding these little gems, and thanks to my team, my wife and I, we find them quite frequently. 

These 3 Dutch ladies

Meet our finalist: The Great Bubble Barrier


Had this brilliant idea to create a bubble barrier in the rivers. The idea is to prevent plastic rubbish from entering our oceans in the first place.

Now the concept is not a new one.

These barriers have been used for oil spills in the past. But, these three Ladies are going to use them for plastic. Fantastic idea.

During their research, they came across Philip Erhorn. A German who had previously realized a bubble barrier in Berlin. He is now in charge of Technical Development. Here is the whole team for you to check out.

How does the Great Bubble Barrier work?

It’s simple. A tube with holes is put on the bottom of the river bed, allowing the air bubbles to create a screen.

A considerable part of the rubbish is not on the surface of the river but in lower areas. This screen helps to bring waste to the surface.

“Up to 70-80% of the plastic actually sinks to the bottom of the water source.” 

The great bubble barrier is placed diagonally in the river to move the rubbish to the riverbanks, ready for collection.

The best part is, fish can easily pass through the barrier, and so can ships, no one gets hurt.

What are the benefits of the Great Bubble Barrier?

  • stops plastic from entering the ocean at the source
  • makes use of the natural current
  • easy to collect
  • no adverse visual impact, in fact, it will be more an attraction for tourists
  • it is based on an existing technology/that has been used to collect oil spills
  • it is easily scalable
  • no harm to fish or vessels crossing the system
  • it can receive plastic pieces up to 1mm small

Other amazing benefits:

  • Oxygen levels within the water increased by a Bubble Barrier, which stimulates the ecosystem and stops the growth of the toxic blue algae.
  • Fish and shores will experience less harm from noisy boat engines. Since the bubble barrier acts as an underwater curtain for sound as well as for plastic.

Where will the Great Bubble Barrier be positioned?

The goal is to have the barriers placed in some of the most polluted rivers.

Attack the problem at the source.

GP0STT1Y3 Web size
A trash-filled river is seen in Barangay Bagumbayan North in Navotas City, Philippines.

In collaboration with Rijkswaterstaat, Deltares, and BAM/van den Herik, this concept has been extensively tested and proved successful.

It continues to work fine even in the stormiest conditions and under strong currents.

What can I do?

You can go ahead and click this link to make a donation. It will send you straight through to their page, don’t worry, I am just the messenger.

Also, go ahead and take a look at

And you can follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

If you would like to know more about how you can make a difference, go ahead and read this lovely article.

Thank you for your time and feel free to leave us a comment below.

Photo of author

Hendrik Kaiser

I've studied biology and lived for 3 years on an off-grid permaculture farm. I love kitesurfing and keeping my body healthy and fit. Hence, I care so much about keeping our environment clean and being as zero waste as possible. Being a zerowasteman is a superpower everyone has inside of themselves, and I want to teach you how you can unleash it.

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