Coast Busters is a charity based in the Netherlands whose main goal is to prevent plastic waste getting into the environment. Claar-els van Delft, co-founder of this charity, realised that the plastic waste that was ending up on the beach at Katwijk, was coming from the mouth of the river nearby and not the tourists visiting the beach.

On the 4th of July 2022, the innovative solution to this problem was established on the Oude Rijn River. Start-up company, The Great Bubble Barrier, have come up with a new experimental concept to remove plastic from the water. The company have placed a 120-metre perforated pipe on the bottom of the waterway that releases bubbles. These bubbles along with the current, push the plastic to the sides of the waterway, known as the catchment area. From here the waste can be easily collected.

…a 120-metre perforated pipe on the bottom of the waterway releases bubbles. These bubbles push the plastic to the sides of the waterway…

Executive Board member, Bas Knapp, of the Rijnland Water Board, predicted that the new bubble barrier is expected to remove “between 86% and 90% of the plastic pollution”. He also claimed that the test carried out using the bubble barrier had been “incredibly promising”.

The bubble barrier if successful will help to protect ecosystems and even people’s livelihoods. In regards to the fish living and migrating in these waterways, tests have been carried out that show that the bubble barrier is harmless to the fish, as they can just swim straight through. Therefore, there are no concerns when regarding potential disruption to the migrating patterns of fish.

The company are currently working on future projects including a bubble barrier in Southeast Asia and another for an estuary in Portugal.