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BUBBLE BARRIERS

Bubble Barrier Harlingen

In 2024, The Great Bubble Barrier will be implementing a new Bubble Barrier in Harlingen, Friesland in the north of the Netherlands.

The system will prevent riverine plastic pollution from flowing into the protected Wadden Sea. This Bubble Barrier will be implemented with the support of Gemeente Harlingen, Provincie Fryslân, Rijkswaterstaat, Port of Harlingen, Wetterskip Fryslân, Gemeente Leeuwarden and Gemeente Waadhoeke.

This project has been supported by Waddenfonds, as part of its mission to protect the Wadden Sea.

The Location

Harlingen, gateway to the Wadden Sea

Plastic pollution remains a critical threat to ecosystems across the world.

The Wadden Sea is one of the last remaining large-scale, intertidal ecosystems where natural processes continue to function largely undisturbed. The area is home to numerous plant and animal species, including marine mammals such as the harbour seal, grey seal and harbour porpoise.

As Friesland’s only seaport, Harlingen is the gateway to the Wadden Sea. Bubble Barrier Harlingen will be the first Bubble Barrier to stop plastic pollution from flowing into the Wadden Sea, and will help keep Harlingen’s coastline clean.

The Project

A collaborative project

Henk Prins, a local citizen, has been cleaning Harlingen’s shores for years to bring the issue of plastic pollution in Harlingen to the attention of the local government.

Gemeente Harlingen recognized the importance of tackling the issue and got interested in the implementation a long-term Bubble Barrier in the coastal town.

Since this initial exploration, many parties including Gemeente Harlingen, Provincie Fryslân, Wetterskip Fryslân, Rijkswaterstaat and the Port of Harlingen have joined forces to implement a Bubble Barrier in Harlingen. This project has been supported by Waddenfonds, as part of its mission to protect the Wadden Sea.

The project shows the power of cooperation between residents and governmental institutions acting together to protect our environment and work towards clean and healthy living conditions.

Process

The project phases

Bubble Barrier Harlingen is planned to be fully operational by summer 2024.
The project will be executed in the following phases:

    The project phases

    Bubble Barrier Harlingen is planned to be fully operational by summer 2024. The project will be executed in the following phases:

      Phase 1 - Preliminary Research

      Before implementing a Bubble Barrier, we conduct research at the location with all stakeholders to ensure optimal placement, alignment with stakeholders, high quality and secure performance.

      In this phase, we make the first design of the system, assess permit requirements and map the total costs of the project. 

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      Phase 2 - Realisation


      In this phase, we will perform additional measurements on-site if required and finalise the design based on our research and permit requirements.
      After permit approval, we will install the Bubble Barrier on site. The implementation will be celebrated with an official launch where all local and (inter)national stakeholders will meet.

      Phase 3 - Operation & Maintenance

      In this phase the Bubble Barrier will be fully operational and make an impact by catching plastics 24/7.  We will put in place a communication plan with local NGO’s and stakeholders, and use the Bubble Barrier as a tool to increase awareness around plastic pollution.

       

       

      Phase 4 - Research & Monitoring

      Together with our partners and local stakeholders, we will conduct research on the type and amount of plastic waste captured post-installation, as well as research into fish behaviour. With this insight, we can contribute to new policies concerning plastic pollution.

       

       

      Bubble Barrier Harlingen partners

      The only key to solving riverine plastic pollution is collaboration.
      Bubble Barrier Harlingen is made possible by:

      Research partners

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