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Waste bubble barrier stops plastic soup entering oceans | Upload Recycling

Bubble Barrier Stops Plastic Soup Entering Oceans

by: Sharai Hoekema
bubble barrier stops plastic soup entering oceans | Upload

The concept of the ‘plastic soup,’ also known as the Great Pacific garbage patch or trash vortex, has become a rather infamous one over the last few years. As the word suggests, it is best imagined as a literal bowl of soup, filled with plastic and debris instead of vermicelli. The currents of the ocean are pushing a large field of trash around, concentrating it in an area of the ocean somewhere between Hawaii and California. 

Waste In Oceans: Plastic Soup And The Great Bubble Barrier

Back in 1988, the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) of the United States already hypothesized its existence, after which the sailer Charles J. Moore became the first to accidentally witness it in 1997 - when he ended up in a stretch of floating debris on his way home from a yacht race. According to the best current estimates, the area would roughly be the size of Spain and France combined. A great danger to animal life and the ecosystem as a whole.

Recommended: Ocean Cleanup’s New Plastic-Catcher: Is It Working?

Plastic Soup: Fight It

While pretty much everyone agrees that this is a problem that has to be combatted, the science and mechanics of how to go about doing so are far from definitive. This had made it a hot issue for young, innovative companies who want to do their part in making the world a better place. One of those companies is the Amsterdam-based start-up, The Great Bubble Barrier. 

Only several weeks ago, The Great Bubble Barrier won the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge 2018 - one of the largest annual international competitions that focuses on sustainable innovation. Founder Anne Marieke Eveleens took home a cheque worth half a million euros to further develop their 'Bubble Barrier,' a design that uses an air bubble screen to prevent plastic and debris in rivers from reaching the ocean.


                                                    The Bubble Barrier: a smart solution to plastic pollution

Waste In The Oceans: Bubble Barrier

Approximately 80% of the plastic that floats around our earth’s oceans has gotten there through the rivers—as such, it is cutting off this passageway could drastically decrease the amount of new plastic entering the seas. This is why the working of this Bubble Barrier is pretty nifty. It employs a perforated tube that is placed on the riverbed, through which high-pressure air is sent. This does, in turn, create a curtain of air bubbles. 

This curtain blocks both plastic waste on the surface - such as floating plastic bottles and packaging - as well as microparticles that are floating underwater. Besides blocking any garbage, it also guides it alongside the bubble curtain to the waterfront. The idea is that, through dedicated and swift collection procedures, it can be collected and subsequently recycled.

Recommended: Combing Plastic Waste Out Oceans: Competition For Boyan Slat

Bubble Barrier: Simply Effective

This solution is another example of great minds finding relatively simple solutions for complicated environmental problems, such as the plastic soup. Whereas most scientists tend to focus directly on the issue at hand - reducing the floating landfill that is already the size of a good part of Europe -, the solution of The Great Bubble Barrier focusses on ensuring that this will, in fact, not grow even more extensive, to an area that might encompass the whole of Europe. 

Graph Bubble Barrier, water, houses, air bubbles
Graph by Great Bubble Barrier

Simultaneously, it prevents a situation that would most closely resemble a game of whack-a-mole, where a single clean-up effort might somewhat decrease the affected area, only to find that a fresh new supply of plastic and hubris has already joined the floating junkyard in the meantime.

The Bubble Barrier: Low Impact On The Environment 

The solution itself has a relatively low impact on the environment, as it is merely a tube and high-pressure air that does the trick of blocking the debris. Furthermore, founder Anne Marieke Eveleens has already pledged to use some of her prize money to look into sustainable methods of trash collection. Additionally, while using bubbles is excellent for blocking plastic, it is harmless - and perhaps even a natural occurrence - for sea animals and ships alike. 

Recommended: Plastic Waste Turned Into Building Blocks: Circular Economy

Plastic Soup: The Road Ahead

Now that they have won the competition and pocketed the significant investment, the team is eager to get started. As one of their primary goals, they listed the introduction of a Bubble Barrier in a city in their native The Netherlands. Each of the major cities in this country boasts some kind of festival or festivity, during which a lot of garbage ends up in the channels - for example, during King’s Day or during the Amsterdam gay pride. For 2019, The Great Bubble Barrier is looking to have a Bubble Barrier installed in at least one of these major cities to lessen the pollution that is an unfortunate side-effect of these otherwise fun events.

After that, the team is looking to expand its activities into Asia - after all, 8 of the ten most polluting rivers in the world are in this continent. Just imagine the impact that a large number of strategically placed Bubble Barriers would have on the overall plastic soup. 

So, excuse the pun: the bright bubble screen of this start-up will prove to be anything but a smokescreen. 

Recommended: Bioplastic From Fish Scale And Skin Composts Quickly: UK

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Bubble Barrier Stops Plastic Soup Entering Oceans

The concept of the ‘plastic soup,’ also known as the Great Pacific garbage patch or trash vortex, has become a rather infamous one over the last few years. As the word suggests, it is best imagined as a literal bowl of soup, filled with plastic and debris instead of vermicelli. The currents of the ocean are pushing a large field of trash around, concentrating it in an area of the ocean somewhere between Hawaii and California.   Waste In Oceans: Plastic Soup And The Great Bubble Barrier Back in 1988, the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) of the United States already hypothesized its existence, after which the sailer Charles J. Moore became the first to accidentally witness it in 1997 - when he ended up in a stretch of floating debris on his way home from a yacht race. According to the best current estimates, the area would roughly be the size of Spain and France combined. A great danger to animal life and the ecosystem as a whole. Recommended:  Ocean Cleanup’s New Plastic-Catcher: Is It Working? Plastic Soup: Fight It While pretty much everyone agrees that this is a problem that has to be combatted, the science and mechanics of how to go about doing so are far from definitive. This had made it a hot issue for young, innovative companies who want to do their part in making the world a better place. One of those companies is the Amsterdam-based start-up, The Great Bubble Barrier .   Only several weeks ago, The Great Bubble Barrier won the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge 2018 - one of the largest annual international competitions that focuses on sustainable innovation. Founder Anne Marieke Eveleens took home a cheque worth half a million euros to further develop their 'Bubble Barrier,' a design that uses an air bubble screen to prevent plastic and debris in rivers from reaching the ocean. {youtube}                                                     The Bubble Barrier: a smart solution to plastic pollution Waste In The Oceans: Bubble Barrier Approximately 80% of the plastic that floats around our earth’s oceans has gotten there through the rivers—as such, it is cutting off this passageway could drastically decrease the amount of new plastic entering the seas. This is why the working of this Bubble Barrier is pretty nifty. It employs a perforated tube that is placed on the riverbed, through which high-pressure air is sent. This does, in turn, create a curtain of air bubbles.   This curtain blocks both plastic waste on the surface - such as floating plastic bottles and packaging - as well as microparticles that are floating underwater. Besides blocking any garbage, it also guides it alongside the bubble curtain to the waterfront. The idea is that, through dedicated and swift collection procedures, it can be collected and subsequently recycled. Recommended:  Combing Plastic Waste Out Oceans: Competition For Boyan Slat Bubble Barrier: Simply Effective This solution is another example of great minds finding relatively simple solutions for complicated environmental problems, such as the plastic soup. Whereas most scientists tend to focus directly on the issue at hand - reducing the floating landfill that is already the size of a good part of Europe -, the solution of The Great Bubble Barrier focusses on ensuring that this will, in fact, not grow even more extensive, to an area that might encompass the whole of Europe.   Graph by Great Bubble Barrier Simultaneously, it prevents a situation that would most closely resemble a game of whack-a-mole, where a single clean-up effort might somewhat decrease the affected area, only to find that a fresh new supply of plastic and hubris has already joined the floating junkyard in the meantime. The Bubble Barrier: Low Impact On The Environment  The solution itself has a relatively low impact on the environment, as it is merely a tube and high-pressure air that does the trick of blocking the debris. Furthermore, founder Anne Marieke Eveleens has already pledged to use some of her prize money to look into sustainable methods of trash collection.   Additionally, while using bubbles is excellent for blocking plastic, it is harmless - and perhaps even a natural occurrence - for sea animals and ships alike.   Recommended:  Plastic Waste Turned Into Building Blocks: Circular Economy Plastic Soup: The Road Ahead Now that they have won the competition and pocketed the significant investment, the team is eager to get started. As one of their primary goals, they listed the introduction of a Bubble Barrier in a city in their native The Netherlands. Each of the major cities in this country boasts some kind of festival or festivity, during which a lot of garbage ends up in the channels - for example, during King’s Day or during the Amsterdam gay pride. For 2019, The Great Bubble Barrier is looking to have a Bubble Barrier installed in at least one of these major cities to lessen the pollution that is an unfortunate side-effect of these otherwise fun events. After that, the team is looking to expand its activities into Asia - after all, 8 of the ten most polluting rivers in the world are in this continent. Just imagine the impact that a large number of strategically placed Bubble Barriers would have on the overall plastic soup.   So, excuse the pun: the bright bubble screen of this start-up will prove to be anything but a smokescreen.   Recommended:  Bioplastic From Fish Scale And Skin Composts Quickly: UK Did you find this an interesting article, or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your article about recycling of renewables? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage.'
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