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10 Aug 2011: ‘Bubble Curtains’ Proposed
To Protect Whales from Noise Pollution

German officials are investigating methods to protect whales and porpoises from the noise pollution
Wikimedia Commons
A harbor porpoise
associated with the construction of offshore wind farms in the Baltic Sea, including so-called underwater “bubble curtains” they say could soundproof the projects. Using a series of hoses and pipes on the seafloor that release a wall of bubbles, officials hope to create a buffer that will absorb or reduce the intensity of the sound emanating from construction sites, including the pounding of pile drivers digging through thick bedrock in order to lay foundations for the turbines. Since the animals rely on sonar to hunt and navigate, wildlife officials are concerned that intense noises coming from construction sites disrupt their ability to communicate and find prey. “These animals are so dependent on their acoustic sense … We need an acoustically clean environment,” said Karsten Brensing, a biologist at the Whales and Dolphins Conservation Society. The “bubble curtain” strategy was proposed by the government’s Federal Agency for Nature Conservation.

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