September 20, 2021

When I went to start our convertible last week, the battery had gone dead.  This was not a total surprise as we do not drive it very often.  Even though I realized I need to start it and drive around to keep it charged I allowed other things to take priority.  What worried me was the starter was frozen as well.  When I called a repair shop about the starter, I was informed the key fobs on the vehicle will not turn if the battery is completely dead.  If the switch had gone out, I would need to tow the car to a dealership 70 miles away to get it replaced and calibrated.  That meant I needed to get a tow truck to either jump my battery or give me a tow.  I did find it interesting that even though I had not been driving the vehicle, there was still trash from a takeout meal in the passenger seat.  I threw it in the trash container.

When I looked for trash online, I found a reference to Mr. Trash Wheel.  This device is officially called the Inner Harbor Water Wheel and is designed as a trash interceptor to remove trash from the Jones Falls River as it empties into the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Maryland.  Mr. Trash is powered by water wheels and solar cells, and places trash from the harbor onto an onboard conveyor belt which routes it into dumpsters on the vessel.   Mr. Trash Wheel was invented by John Kellett in 2008, who launched a pilot vessel which was replaced by this larger vessel launched in May 2014.  After the first significant storm on April 20, 2015, Mr. Trash Wheel removed 19 tons of trash from Baltimore’s waterfront on that one day.  Over a million pounds of trash has been pulled out of the water by Mr. Trash Wheel since it was installed.  A second water wheel has since been constructed for use at the Harris Creek outfall near Baltimore.  This second trash wheel is nicknamed Professor Trash Wheel.

When the tow truck arrived, the driver did not know how to get under the hood.  I popped the latch, showed him where the battery was (under the air intake), and watched as he attached the cables to my car.  This was obviously not a mechanic.  When I got in the key fob turned and the car turned right over.  When the driver checked however, the battery was bad, so I drove to the store and purchased a new one.  On Sunday we did take the car out for a drive.  We toured the lake and I showed Melissa the new improvements.  As we drove into the parking lot, I noticed the trash can next to the sitting bench.  Someone had obviously eaten a takeout meal on the bench six feet from the can and thrown their trash on the ground at their feet.  It is no wonder the Native American cried in the 1970’s promotion asking us to keep our country clean.  I picked it up and put it in the trash.

Thoughts:  Keep America Beautiful found in a 2020 study that there are an estimated 26 billion pieces of litter along the banks of the nearly 11 million miles of US waterways. The National Resource Defense Council states that, “Around 80% of marine litter actually originates on land – either swept in from the coastline or carried to rivers from the streets during heavy rain via storm drains and sewer overflows.” The large plastic drink cup thrown out the window could now be in the Mississippi River and on its way to the Gulf of Mexico.  It is hard to get trash to the landfill when it does not even make it six feet to the trash can.  Do the work.  Follow the science.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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