Talking Trash

Mr Trash Wheel, Baltimore Harbour

Mr Trash Wheel, Baltimore Harbour

This week I received an interesting website story from a friend about ‘Mr Trash Wheel’, a clever device that has successfully collected 330 tons of waste from Baltimore Harbour in Maryland this year. The solar-powered wheel is equipped with a conveyer belt and, as it turns, garbage and other debris travels up the belt and is deposited into a dumpster and disposed of accordingly. What a brilliant idea, one that really warmed my heart, and it has received a large number of fans through Reddit this week.

The waste collected comes from those who neglect to put their waste in the bin and when it rains it is carried into storm drains and streams connected to the nearby harbour and sea. This situation is not an isolated one. It happens in cities all over the world, including the UK, and Mr Trash Wheel may even be a solution to the ongoing litter problem in the River Thames. In one year alone, 400 tons of litter is recovered from the Thames. The MCS reported that rubbish levels increased on beaches in England by 10.1% from 2013 to 2014.

One of the major problems with this impact of litter is the affect it has on marine wildlife. Many marine animals are harmed and even killed mainly through entanglement and ingestion. From turtles mistaking plastic bags for jellyfish to barnacles filter feeding small plastic particles that have been broken down from larger objects over time. Over 100,000 marine mammals and over 1 million seabirds die every year from ingestion of and entanglement in marine litter.

It is vital to conserve the diverse and unique marine biodiversity that inhabits the marine environment and keep waste out of the oceans and seas from whatever source. One simple way to help is making sure our waste goes in the bin.

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Picture Gallery

Mr Trash Wheel, Baltimore Harbour
The Conveyor Belt
Liquid Productions, LLC/Marine Photobank
Kanna Jones/Marine Photobank