Amsterdam uses air bubble barrier to tackle plastic waste

Amsterdam uses air bubble barrier to tackle plastic waste

December 3, 2019
Marcia González

Amsterdam is using a bubble barrier to catch canal plastic

A district in Amsterdam is currently testing an innovative way to prevent plastic waste from flowing out to the sea involving an air bubble barrier.

A perforated tube carries compressed air at the bed of the canal and emits a bubble barrier.

The bubbles essentially trap plastic waste without disturbing aquatic life or hindering boat movement. Not only does the air bubble barrier prevent the flow of plastics, but it can also push submerged debris to the surface for capture.

The engineers laid the tube such that the river flow would direct the waste to a side of the canal. Then a floating platform would come in to collect the plastics.

Currently, Amsterdam’s garbage-collection boats remove nearly 42 metric tons of plastic from the city’s canal every year. The hope is that the air bubble barrier would enhance the work and help capture smaller particles of waste.

In a formal pilot, the device’s prototype reportedly trapped an average of 86% of plastic waste, preventing it from polluting the North Sea.

The city intends to continue analyzing the trapped waste to gain an insight into the extent and type of plastic waste. Also, they want to monitor the barrier’s effectiveness over time.

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