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“Litter Skimmer” has already scooped up 13 tons of trash from Tampa Waters

A year into picking up a city’s empty potato chip bags and soda bottles — and the occasional dead chicken — Litter Skimmer skims on.

Felicia Russo and Kent Foss were out on their daily bike ride along the Tampa Riverwalk when they spotted it: That city boat they often saw tooling along the Hillsborough River sucking up trash, now idling at the dock with its two boatmen on land.

They hit the bike brakes. So many questions.

“Is that all that stuff that you got out of here? Was that floating?” Russo asked, indicating the piled-high trash in the boat’s catch. It was. “That is incredible,” she said.

Since it debuted on local waterways a year ago this summer, Tampa’s Litter Skimmer has been watched from bridges and docks as it’s scooped up more than 26,500 pounds of floating garbage from along the river, the channels, Davis Islands and Bayshore Boulevard. People, including kids at the city’s waterfront parks, often wave to the odd-looking vessel.

“We’ll do like a little spin-around for them, show them the trash that’s on it, that this is what this boat does,” said Jason “Mojo” Morrison, one of two men currently working on the Litter Skimmer, which is part of the city solid waste department.