The quantity of marine debris in oceans has been increasing rapidly worldwide. 80% of most marine debris comes from trash in urban runoffs. The other 20% is from ocean based sources such as discharges from ships, fishing gear, and etc. In order to reduce plastic ocean pollution; one approach would be to get trash out of the rivers and lakes before the waterways carry it to the ocean. Cities such as Baltimore have already taken action to clear out their rivers of trash and debris in order to reduce ocean pollution.
Baltimore has come up with an industrial-sized device to remove plastic from its rivers and harbors. The famous Mr. Trash Wheel has become a local sensation in Baltimore. Invented by John Kellett, Mr. Trash Wheel notoriously removed 19 tons of garbage from Baltimore’s waterfront on April 20th, 2015. These inventions are powered by sustainable renewable energy. It is powered by the current from the river and uses solar panels as a backup power source. To fund this project, the Mr. Trash Wheel vessel was part of the Waterfront Partnership of the City of Baltimore’s “Healthy Harbor Plan”.
Since the invention of the original Mr. Trash Wheel in 2014, for about five years later, three replicas have been created- Professor Trash Wheel, Captain Trash Wheel, and a new trash wheel that has not been named yet. These inventions together have a collection of around more than 1,200 tons of trash and debris, including more than 11 million cigarette butts, 1 million foam containers, 650,000 plastic bags, and 900,000 plastic bottles. Baltimore has very much set a precedent for other cities to create river clean up inventions. As the big cities push for these projects, the more impact it will have on keeping oceans away from more pollution.