A conservation group in Baltimore has employed this innovative water wheel, affectionately known as Mr. Trash Wheel, to clean up the city’s polluted Inner Harbor. In just 18 months, Mr. Trash Wheel has removed 350 tons of garbage from the harbor. That’s nearly 200,000 bottles, 173,000 potato chip bags and a whopping 6.7 million cigarettes removed from a waterway so polluted that it failed its 2014 water quality report card.
The clean energy-powered wheel is equipped with a conveyer belt; as the belt turns, garbage and other debris travel up the belt and are deposited into a dumpster and disposed of accordingly.
This remarkable photograph shows just how much of an impact the water wheel has already had in its short life. The photo on the left was taken on April 30, 2014, after a torrential downpour washed a harrowing amount of garbage into the harbor. Just over a year later, a similar storm earlier had almost no recognizable impact on the Harbor.
The Chesapeake region’s most beloved sustainability project has yet another notable collection to add to its list: a live python.
The snake was discovered slithering on the barge early Wednesday afternoon. Officials from the National Aquarium, which sits on the Inner Harbor, have since assumed custody of the animal, which is said to be “alive and well and in good hands.”
Waterfront Partnership manages the water wheel, which is part of a larger plan to make Baltimore’s Inner Harbor swimmable and fishable by 2020. Powered by renewable energy sources, the wheel scoops up to 50,000 pounds of floating garbage out of the water each day, depositing trash into a dumpster for proper disposal.
The organization is currently raising funds to install a second water wheel in Baltimore’s Canton neighborhood.