Whether you're a Baltimore local or you've just been in the city for a day or two, you've probably spotted an odd creature in the water that's sucking up trash that's come down into the harbor. Well, wonder about him no more! This is Mr. Trash Wheel, and he's here to help keep things a little cleaner in Charm City. Read on to learn all about his mission and his success.
1. The wheel was invented by a man who was getting tired of all of the trash in the Jones Falls
As John Kellett went to work in Baltimore every day, he noticed a lot of garbage clogging up the Jones Falls, and he decided to do something about it. He designed a garbage cleaning solution that would be powered by the current and by the sun that would funnel litter flowing down from the river into its mouth, then lift it into a conveyor belt that leads to a dumpster. You can see how it works here!
2. Some wild things have been found inside of the wheel
And we mean literally wild -- infamously, a ball python was recovered from within Mr. Trash Wheel's innards. The trash collectors have also found musical instruments, tires, kegs, and plenty of cigarette butts and plastic bags.
3. Over two million pounds of trash have been collected
In a single day in 2015, after a heavy storm, Mr. Trash Wheel ate up 19 tons of garbage! The fact that there's so much for the wheel to empty helps Baltimore residents reckon with the fact that there's a lot of plastic pollution in their waterways in the first place -- but things can be done to fight it.
4.Mr. Trash Wheel has inspired many other trash wheels
In Maryland alone, three other trash wheels have been born -- Professor Trash Wheel, Captain Trash Wheel, and Gwynnda the Good Wheel of the West (who is the largest and most productive of all of the current wheels here in Maryland). But trash wheels have become trendy, and people from all over the world have begun creating them for their own cities and waterways.
5. You can join in on Mr. Trash Wheel's mission!
Want to help keep your local waterways free of garbage? You can be Mr. Trash Wheel's land-dwelling counterpart by joining the Order of the Wheel, a 'secret' society with a mission to make the world a little less trashy. Want to learn more? Click here.