Bubble Barrier launches in Amsterdam to remove plastic from canals + North Sea

First screen of air bubbles stops plastic from Amsterdam’s canals

AMSTERDAM, NOVEMBER 7, 2019 - Today, the first Bubble Barrier was launched in the Westerdok in Amsterdam. The Bubble Barrier is a bubble screen and removes plastic from the water of the Amsterdam canals. This prevents canal plastic from flowing into the North Sea. This makes the city of Amsterdam a global pioneer in the fight against plastic pollution.

The Bubble Barrier was placed by The Great Bubble Barrier and commissioned by the water management board of ‘Amstel, Gooi and Vecht’ and the municipality of Amsterdam. The water management board and the municipality previously worked together in the "Amsterdam Clean Water" coalition, which strives for clean water without plastic in Amsterdam and aims to prevent outflow of Amsterdam plastic towards the open sea. The Westerdok in the Westelijk Havengebied is one end of the monumental canals of Amsterdam and an exit to the river IJ.


The Bubble Barrier is a curtain of air bubbles which is created by pumping compressed air through a perforated tube which is placed on the bottom of the canal. The Bubble Barrier does not only stop floating plastic but also brings plastic in suspension to the surface. The natural flow of the water in the Westerdok and the diagonal placement of the Bubble Barrier guides plastic into the catchment system on the side of the canal. The Bubble Barrier works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, does not interfere with shipping and the passing of wildlife and can be deployed across the entire width of rivers or canals.