Reinventing the wheel
The Ala Wai Canal in Waikiki has for years been the collection point for plastic debris and litter, which in turn flows into the ocean, not to mention the site of the worst massive sewage discharge of 48-million gallons of untreated wastewater in 2006.
Now, three non-profit groups — Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, 808 Cleanups and the Surfrider Foundation — are hoping to bring the Trash Water Wheel to Honolulu's Ala Wai Canal. The solar-powered wheel, which a Baltimore, Md. non-profit brought to its Inner Harbor two years ago, has reportedly removed more than 350 tons of litter there.
It kind of looks like a covered wagon with a spinning wheel and array of solar panels on top. The Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore says it is capable of picking up 50,000 pounds of trash per day using a combination of old and new technology. Two booms direct trash and debris toward the front of the water wheel, which moves it up a conveyer belt (powered by the water wheel and solar panels) and into a dumpster.
Hawaii's three non-profits recently launched an indiegogo campaign seeking to raise $6,500 to conduct a feasibility study (plus offer donors various perks). The goal has been surpassed in less than 10 days.
Kahi Pacarro, director of Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, says he has met with state and city officials, who agreed the project should be a priority for Oahu but requires a feasibility study first. All funds beyond the goal will go towards the actual water wheel. If the feasibility study ends up determining that the water wheel is not feasible for Honolulu, the funds will be split between the three non-profits for perpetuating their missions of cleaning Hawaii's coastlines.
The indiegogo campaign runs until Aug. 19.