The Bubble Barrier implementation: a milestone for MAELSTROM project 

We have Bubbles! After three years of intensive work, on Saturday, November 25, our Bubble Barrier Vila do Conde was officially launched in the city of Vila do Conde, in Portugal.

The Bubble Barrier is the second and last technology implemented by our project, following the Robotic Seabed Cleaning Platform implemented in Venice in June.The implementation of the Bubble Barrier has therefore been a milestone for the MAELSTROM team: it is already collecting plastics and other waste in the Ave River (here you can see how it works), preventing it to reach the sea and contributing to the EU Mission Restore Our Ocean and Waters and to SDG 14, Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. 

 The system was co-designed and implemented by our partners The Great Bubble Barrier and the Institute for Sustainable Energy of the University of Malta, under the supervision of the MAELSTROM coordinator, the Italian CNR-ISMAR and project partners Deltares and CIIMAR. Moreover, the Bubble Barrier installation has counted with the collaboration of the Vila do Conde Municipality, which we sincerely thanks for its proactive approach regarding marine litter and plastic pollution, and the key support of CMIA Vila do Conde. 

 The inauguration ceremony was attended by the Portuguese State Secretary for the Sea, Dr. José Maria Costa, by the Vice-President of the Portuguese Environmental Agency, Dr. José Pimenta Machado, by the Mayor of Vila do Conde, Dr. Vítor Manuel Moreira Costa, by the Port Captaincy Commander Monica Martins, by the Director of Docapesca – Portos e Lotas, S.A. Dr. Nuno Coelho and by Lipor CEO, Dr. Fernando Leite.  

 During these last three years of work, it was fantastic to see how our international collaboration-based project met the local support and commitment from the  Portuguese Authorities, making it possible to install a permanent Bubble Barrier in the Ave River. In the next months, MAELSTROM team will be monitoring the type and quantity of waste collected and assessing the environmental impact of the Bubble Barrier in Ave’s riverine ecosystem. 

We couldn’t be more grateful for the support received and we believe that the level of engagement seen is itself a reason to celebrate and continuing approaching international cooperation and local engagement as two sides of the same coin, when working towards long-term successful and sustainable initiatives. Looking forward to the next months!