A trash-collecting wheel, inspired by a US project, is cleaning up pollution from one of Panama's most polluted rivers before it makes its way to the ocean. The wheel, named Wanda Díaz, is the first of its kind in Latin America. It is located in Juan Diaz River, which moves over 100,000 tons of trash a year into Panama Bay, where nearly 1000 humpback whales come to nurse their young each year. Powered with hydraulic and solar power, it uses a camera system and artificial intelligence to analyze waste and provide data for public education and policy. Marea Verde, a nonprofit group started in 2017, was inspired by the Trash Wheel projects in Baltimore, Maryland. Since Wanda Díaz device was established in September, it has collected over 22 1.3-cubic-meter bags of plastic bottles. “We want to raise awareness that we can prevent the death of this very important river,” said Sandy Watemberg, head of Marea Verde.

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