Baltimore's Mr. Trash Wheel could get a cousin in Hawaii

Posted at 1:43 PM, Jul 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-20 13:43:14-04

Mr. Trash Wheel in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor could be getting a new family—halfway across the globe in Hawaii.

Sustainable Coastline Hawaii, a nonprofit on the island, is raising money to install their own vision of the water wheel in the Ala Wai Canal.

Kahi Paccaro, who works with the organization, said their research showed the canal was one of the largest sources of trash getting into the Pacific Ocean from the island.

And, according to Paccaro, the group has already raised enough money for an exploratory study. The designers behind the Baltimore Water Wheel, Clearwater Mills, are set to fly out to Hawaii and see how feasible building a water wheel there would be.

Casey Merbler, program coordinator for the Healthy Harbor Initiative, called the possibility of another trash wheel in the world “really exciting.”

“A couple groups around the world have tried to raise the money to build a trash wheel, but this group seems to be the most successful so far,” Merbler said.



The Inner Harbor Water Wheel, installed in May 2014, has already collected over 440,000 tons of trash.

And now the Healthy Harbor Initiative is looking to build a second water wheel, in Canton.

The wheel in Canton would at the end of Harris Creek, a piped, underground waterway where all the trash from the neighborhood is dumped out, Merbler said.

With over $485,000 raised, the group is about 85 percent of the way to their fundraising goal for a water wheel in Canton.

The water wheel is powered by solar panels and the natural current of the Jones Falls. Mr. Trash Wheel is “totally off the grid,” according to Merbler.

The Healthy Harbor Initiative’s main goal is to have a swimmable, fishable harbor by the year 2020. One of the biggest obstacles to that goal is sewage—the other, garbage.

“Mr. Trash Wheel is helping clean up our harbor one Styrofoam cup at a time,” Merbler said. “And luckily he likes the taste of trash.”

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