Meet Mr Trash Wheel, the Hero Cleaning Up Baltimore’s Harbor
Since May 9, 2014, Mr. Trash Wheel has removed over: 6.76 million cigarette butts, 200,000 plastic bottles, 255,000 Styrofoam containers, 113,000 grocery bags, 173,000 chip bags and 4,000 glass bottles from the Baltimore Harbor.
Powered by the sun’s rays and the river’s current, Mr. Trash Wheel is simply awesome. Let’s learn more about this amazing machine.
Superheroes come in all shapes and sizes. Mr. Trash Wheel might be the biggest one yet. Courageously protecting Baltimore, Maryland, the water wheel lifts trash and debris from the water and deposits it into a dumpster barge. [source]
When the dumpster is filled to its limit, it gets towed away by a boat and replaced by another one. Officially recognized as ‘The Inner Harbor Water Wheel’, the Jones Falls River’s current turns the water wheel which in turn moves a conveyor belt. A solar panel array generates extra support should the river’s currents not be powerful enough. [source]
The trash originates from garbage on the ground which gets carried into storm drains when it rains, flowing into neighbourhood streams—eventually reaching the Baltimore Harbour and the Chesapeake Bay. Garbage collected by Mr. Trash Wheel can come from anywhere in the Jones Falls Watershed area. [source]
A Healthy Harbor initiative of the non-profit Waterfront Partnership, Mr. Trash Wheel is one of many projects aimed at cleaning and restoring the Baltimore Harbour, an important feature of the city. One that is polluted by millions of gallons of sewage and hundreds of tons of trash every year, threatening all living things in interaction with the water. The Healthy Harbour has a goal to make the Baltimore Harbour both swimmable and fishable by 2020. [source]
Mr. Trash Wheel has gained a lot of attention and popularity within the past year with a Discovery article and an NBC News segment, but has been thrown into celebrity status within the past month after an “AMA (Ask Me Anything)” post on Reddit with Mr. Trash Wheel himself became the top post on the website that day. [source]
Waterfront Partnership is currently collecting donations to fund a second water wheel, The Canton Water Wheel, which is being planned to operate in Baltimore’s Canton neighbourhood.
Be sure to check out some videos of Mr. Trash Wheel in action (below) like him tackling on garbage after a rain storm. And stay connected with his own Twitter account as he documents all his wacky discoveries like a beer keg and a python snake!