“Mr. Trash Wheel” Removes 4,000,000 Cigarettes from Baltimore Harbor

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A water wheel in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor has removed 160 tons of garbage from the waterway in just under a year. That’s 97,000 bottles, 80,000 potato chip bags and a whopping 4 million cigarettes removed from a waterway so polluted that it failed its 2014 water quality report card.

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. A mere four million cigarettes later, a similar storm earlier this week had almost no recognizable impact on the Harbor.

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The solar-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.

The wheel, dubbed “Mr. Trash Wheel” on social media, is just one part of the Waterfront Partnership’s Healthy Harbor Plan to make the Harbor swimmable by 2020.

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