Panama installs Trash Wheel to get handle on plastic


Panama’s trash wheel removes floating debris guided to its conveyor belt by floating booms. (Photo courtesy of Marea Verde)

Rather than resembling green oases, urban rivers across the tropical Americas too often qualify as eyesores, their trash-lined channels containing gray-tinged waters and pungent scents of sewage. Panama City, Panama, is using an odd-looking contraption called a “trash wheel” to remove floating debris from the Juan Díaz River. One of Panama’s most polluted rivers, the Juan Díaz flows through Panama City to wetlands fringing Panama Bay. Sporting a water wheel and an arched canopy roof providing cover for a conveyor belt, the stationary, hydro- and solar-powered “trash interceptor” is the first non-U.S. version of the Trash Wheel invented to help clean up Baltimore, Maryland’s Inner Harbor. The original interceptor, called Mr. Trash Wheel, has become a beloved Baltimore waterfront sight since it began operating in 2014. It inspired the installation of trash interceptors in three other Baltimore-area locations. Like Mr. Trash Wheel, they are... [Log in to read more]

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