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A 'Bubble Barrier' is trapping plastic waste before it can get into the sea

June 8, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 17.1%. 1 min read.

A stream of bubbles is catching trash in Amsterdam's Westerdok canal, preventing it from ultimately flowing into the North Sea.

"The Bubble Barrier" was developed as a simple way to stop plastic pollution flowing from waterways into the ocean.

Ehrhorn says the idea is to catch plastic without having a physical barrier like a net or boom blocking the river, which could disrupt aquatic life or interfere with shipping.

Ehrhorn says that while the bubble curtain can trap plastics down to 1 millimeter in size, the catchment system only retains objects that are 10 millimeters and larger.

Ehrhorn says much of the plastic in Amsterdam's Westerdok canal comes from trash bags that local residents leave outside their homes.

As a member of the Plastic Pollution Emissions Working Group, a team of self-described "scientists, policy wonks and conservation practitioners," Borrelle has also researched the Bubble Barrier.

For the moment, the Great Bubble Barrier team works with Amsterdam's water authority and the Plastic Soup Foundation NGO to analyze what kind of plastic has been caught and identify its sources, to help develop new policies around plastic waste.

Ehrhorn says that the pandemic means they haven't been able to quantify how much plastic the Bubble Barrier has caught to date.

by summa-bot

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