There are millions of pounds of plastic in oceans and lakes across the world. In a study published by the journal Science, 8 million metric tons of plastic are left in the ocean each year.
To stop some of this flow of plastic, the Great Bubble Barrier is almost like a big curtain and focuses on the source: canals, rivers and channels.
A pipe with roles is installed along a riverbed, and air is pumped through it, creating a screen of air bubbles from the bottom of the river to the surface.
The device can stop, and guide the plastic garbage flow to the river shoreline to be collected.
“We work with existing technology,--air curtains are used in multiple applications,” said Francis Zoet, founder and technology officer at the Great Bubble Barrier. “We use material that has been tested for over 14 years, so it’s very durable.”
One of the challenges the company faced was to establish a relation between the speed of the river current and the air required to make the bubbles. Similar technology is used in the oil industry to fight oil spills.
“With the Great Bubble Barrier, you can collect plastic over the full width and the depth of the river,” said Anne Marieke Eveleens, COO.
According to Zoet, the barrier can last for 10 years.