In the fall of 2019, the first Bubble Barrier was implemented which will remain in place for a long period of time in the capital of the Netherlands: Amsterdam! This Bubble Barrier was installed by The Great Bubble Barrier at one of the outlets from the canals into the IJ. With this the Bubble Barrier will prevent Amsterdam canal plastic from flowing into the North Sea. This is a global first in the fight against plastic pollution.
The Bubble Barrier was commissioned by the Amstel, Gooi and Vecht Water Management Board and the Municipality of Amsterdam as an extension of “Amsterdam Clean Water” which strives for clean plastic-free waters in Amsterdam. The location, the Westerdok, is one of the points where the water flows from the monumental canals of Amsterdam into the IJ. The IJ flows into the North Sea Canal and this leads directly to the North Sea. This makes Westerdok an ideal place to catch Amsterdam’s canal plastic.
Visit the Bubble Barrier Amsterdam virtually via this link.
The Bubble Barrier in the Westerdok is strategically placed to be able to stop as much of the outflow of plastic from Amsterdam’s city center as possible. The Bubble Barrier complements the garbage boats of Waternet and also catches plastic in the weekends and evenings, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All this powered by renewable energy from the city of Amsterdam.
The Bubble Barrier does not only collect plastic on the surface, but also under the water surface. The rising bubbles of the Bubble Barrier create an upwards current which brings the plastic to the surface of the water. Due to the diagonal placement in the waterway, the Bubble Barrier uses the natural flow to guide the plastic to the collection system at the river side.
1. Plastic in water
Plastic in the water, which flows through the Amsterdam canals to the Bubble Barrier and is guided by the bubbles into the catchment system.
Boats can sail through the Bubble Barrier without a problem.
3. Bubble Barrier
The Bubble Barrier is placed diagonally in the river, in a precisely calculated angle for the maximum capture of plastics.
4. Catchment system
The catchment system which retains the plastic until removal.
Electric compressor which supplies the air for the Bubble Barrier (placed in an insulated container)
Water without plastic waste flows via the river IJ into the North sea.
AMSTERDAM – CITY OF WATER
More water than Venice, more bridges than Paris. In addition to its artistic heritage, the Dutch capital is best known for its inland waterways. Of those inland waterways, the seventeenth-century canal belt is even on the list of UNESCO world heritage. Situated on the Amstel between the North Sea and the Zuiderzee, Amsterdam was for centuries one of the most important port cities in the world. For example, a canal network was built at the end of the 16th and 17th centuries after land reclamation to expand the city area. In order to improve the connection with the North Sea, the North Sea Canal was built in the 19th century. In combination with the IJ, this waterway provides a passage from the fresh water IJsselmeer to the salty North Sea and other waterways such as the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal. The Amstel also provides an extensive migration route from the interior to the open sea for both shipping and aquatic life.
CIRCULAIR AND CLEAN
“We want to remove as much plastic as possible from the water to prevent pollution of the North Sea. Of course, we would prefer that no plastic is entering the environment at all – with the Bubble Barrier we are at least tackling pollution from the canals.” – Sander Mager, daily board member, Amstel, Gooi and Vecht Water Management Board
“Although we want to prevent plastic litter as much as possible through new measures and the installation of enough waste bins, a lot of plastic still ends up in the canals with or without intent. I am therefore delighted to enter into a partnership with Waternet to do something about canal plastic” – Marieke van Doorninck, Municipal councilor, Municipality of Amsterdam
This project is being executed by The Great Bubble Barrier on behalf of the Amstel, Gooi and Vecht Waterboard and the city of Amsterdam in collaboration with Van den Herik – Sliedrecht, STOP! Micro Waste, Canadianpond and the Plastic Soup Foundation.
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