The Great Bubble Barrier addresses the problem of plastic pollution in our oceans, by focusing on the source: our canals, rivers and channels.


The Great Bubble Barrier addresses the problem of plastic pollution in our oceans, by focusing on the source: our canals, rivers and channels.

Proven Technology



Extensive testing in Deltares facilities, has shown that our idea works.

Our first full-scale test in the IJssel, in cooperation with Rijkswaterstaat, was successful.

Now, we’ll tackle the canals and rivers in your area.

Stop the Plastic Soup

Too much human waste is dumped in our waterways and it brings great harm to the environment and human beings. Aquatic animals and fish get tangled in plastic, ships suffer damages and microplastics pose a health risk from the smallest to largest of organisms. This problem is increasingly seen and recognized by municipalities across the European Union.

Waste can be collected before it reaches the oceans. Current solutions that manage waste in rivers, often hinders passing ships and marine life in the river. The co-founders of the Great Bubble Barrier, Francis Zoet, Anne Marieke Eveleens and Saskia Studer were looking for an elegant solution to stop plastic in rivers, without blocking the continuous ship traffic or fish migration in the Netherlands.

Both ships as fish can pass a curtain of air, but plastic will be stopped: this is the principle of the Great Bubble Barrier. We create a bubble screen by pumping air through a tube with holes located on the bottom of the waterway. Current solutions catch floating debris, but a huge part of debris travels lower in the rivers. The Great Bubble Barrier creates a bubble curtain from the bottom of the river up to the surface. This upward flow of the bubble barrier brings waste to the surface of the water. When placed diagonally, the natural current is used to guide the plastic on the riverside, which makes it accessible for collection and accessible removal.

The benefits of the Bubble Barrier

  • Makes smart use of the natural current of a river
  • Guides plastic to the side of rivers and canals.
  • Stops plastic on its way to the ocean
  • Is based on existing technology
  • Is an innovative concept
  • Increases the oxygen within the water
  • Does not need changes in infrastructure or policies
  • Is easy scalable

With these features, our system meets the most important conditions: it has little effect on shipping, fishing and the natural functioning of the delta.

Since The Great Bubble Barrier is based on existing technology, which is used in the oil industry and for separating fresh and salt water, it is easy to apply. And the most beautiful is: the system can be used in both the largest rivers and smaller canals and channels. Because The Great Bubble Barrier is visually appealing, it attracts visitors, increasing awareness about the plastic problem.

Our goal is to place The Great Bubble Barrier in smart locations, so that we can stop plastic soup at its source and keep as much plastic as possible out of the oceans.

We do not only clean up

The Great Bubble Barrier tackles the plastic problem close to the source, but to be even more efficient we need prevention. Change and awareness within a society need time and are the base of solving plastic pollution. Change is built on research, education, campaigns and the attractiveness and accessibility of alternatives. 

The Great Bubble Barrier fights plastic pollution via 4 routes:

  1. Cleaning the plastic debris in rivers with our Bubble Barrier
  2. Increase awareness
  3. Measure and monitor plastic debris in rivers
  4. Search for a circular plastic chain

Is this something for your location?

The Great Bubble Barrier offers solutions for different problems. The Great Bubble Barrier catches more plastic than current solutions in flowing waters. The systems continuously filters floating material between 5mm and 1m and material that is positioned under water. A Bubble Barrier can be placed both in big rivers as in small canals. 

Now, municipalities and water management boards can tackle the plastic problems in their waters. They have a sustainable solution for their responsibility to keep the water quality up to standards. Ports and canals can be kept clean. In addition, municipalities and water management boards save on patrol boats to collect the debris, for example, and the costs of cleaning up waste after flooding.

Drinking water companies ensure that their drinking water sources remain free of plastic particles. The removal of smaller plastic later in the drinking water chain is not yet feasible at the moment, so it is crucial to prevent plastic in the sources.

Nature parks can also place a barrier to prevent plastic pollution in nature reserves. In addition, the Bubble Barrier has other positive side effects due to air input. Oxygen levels within the water increases 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 the shipping that sails through our waters, because the bubble screens absorb part of the sound and waves.

Tested thoroughly in collaboration with Rijkswaterstaat, Deltares and BAM/vandenHerik

In collaboration with Rijkswaterstaat, Deltares and BAM / van den Herik, this concept has been extensively tested and proved successful. New insights came when testing the concept in the flumes at Deltares in May 2017. At the end of 2017, we realized a Bubble Barrier of 200 meters at Kampen in the IJssel. For three weeks, the European research team proved that the Bubble Barrier works under all conditions, with particular attention to the effect of wind and current on the Bubble Barrier.

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natuurlijke match

Bellenschermen maken slim gebruik van bestaande rivierstromingen.

perfecte fit

Geen overwachte aanpassingen in aangelegde infrastructuur of beleid nodig.



Alleen materialen in gebruik die geen schade brengen aan mensen en dieren.

We all contribute to the problem, whether we know it or not. Let’s all contribute to the solution.
With your donation, we can get plastic our of the water, before it reaches the seas.


We would like to get in contact with you to plan a meeting.

Fill in our contact form if you would like to know more about our Bubble Barrier.

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