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Baltimore to Double Harbor Cleanup with Fourth Trash Wheel


Monday, March 22, 2021   

BALTIMORE -- Groups working to clean up the Baltimore Harbor are expediting their efforts by installing a fourth Trash Wheel next month.

Dubbed "Gwynnda, the Good Wheel of the West," she'll be part of the growing waste-removal system, one of several local initiatives to protect water quality and the ecosystem.

It should also create opportunities for future public access to the waterway.

Adam Lindquist, director of the Healthy Harbor Initiative at the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore, said litter gets into storm drains and flows into the streams, where the trash wheels are situated to filter out debris.

"The Trash Wheels pick up about 250 tons of trash and debris from the Baltimore Harbor, every single year," Lindquist explained. "This new Trash Wheel is going to pick up more trash on its own than the other three Trash Wheels combined."

According to the Waterfront Partnership's 2020 report card, from May 2014 to 2020, the three Trash Wheels have collected more than 1,400 tons of trash, including thousands of plastic bags, and millions of plastic bottles, foam containers and cigarette butts.

Maryland recently banned foam containers, and come July of this year, a plastic bag ban will go into effect in Baltimore.

Lindquist noted environmental groups are optimistic these efforts will stop waste at the source.

"Our long-term goal is to put the Trash Wheels on a diet," Lindquist remarked. "And the way we do that is by reducing the amount of trash and amount of plastics ending up in our waterways in the first place."

Lindquist has high hopes for decreasing plastic bags in local waterways, citing a 72% drop in plastic-bag waste in the Potomac River after Washington, DC, put a five-cent fee on the bags.

He added beyond "Gwynnda's" installation, the partnership has set its sights on expanding plastic-bag regulations beyond Baltimore City, to the entirety of Maryland.

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