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Dirty Water Drives Creative Thinking

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By Sabri Ben-Achour

Baltimore's Inner Harbor is among the most polluted waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Last year it received a grade of F from the University of Maryland and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for it's poor water quality. But the problem is spurring some creative thinking.

Floating near the outfall of Harris Creek in Baltimore's inner harbor is what looks like a log cabin with a waterwheel. It's actually a solar and wind-powered trash skimmer. It collects floating trash, feeds it on a conveyor belt, and into a dumpster.

John Kellett invented it.

"In the two years it's picked up over 500,000 pounds of trash and debris," he says.

Some of that trash is being re-used.

"So we're using the plastic bottles as buoyancy to create floating mats that we'll plant with wetland plants," says Chris Strebb, with environmental consulting firm Biohabitats.

The floating wetlands he's helping create will hopefully absorb nutrient pollution and create habitat.


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