Thanks for stopping by for Day 16 of Upworthy's 31 Days of Happiness Countdown! If this is your first visit, here's the gist: Each day between Dec. 1 and Dec. 31, we're sharing stories we hope will bring joy, smiles, and laughter into your life. It's been a challenging year, so why not end it on a high note? Check back tomorrow (or click the links at the bottom) for another installment!

Picking up trash isn't the most glamorous job, but it is an important one. In Baltimore's Inner Harbor, that effort is led by a wise-cracking, anthropomorphic, googly-eyed conveyor belt named Mr. Trash Wheel. At a time when America is gearing up to make coal smog its national bird and give oil companies unfettered access to public lands, it's hard not to feel a tiny twinge of hope that one city now sports a 16-foot-long floating dumpster whose job it is to eat litter. Not to mention, he's awesome.

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Heroes

When a group of local business leaders decided to make the Baltimore harbor fishable and swimmable by 2020, they quickly realized they needed to get weird.

"We wanted to install a device that would immediately reduce the amount of trash going into the Baltimore harbor," explains Adam Lindquist, director of the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore's Healthy Harbor Initiative.

The solution came from local sailor and inventor John Kellett who, after years of noticing trash floating in the Jones Falls River, had installed a pilot "trash wheel" in the harbor in 2008. The Waterfront Partnership commissioned a permanent version that sits at the mouth of the river, scooping up discarded plastic on a solar-powered conveyor belt and depositing it into a series of dumpsters.

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Heroes

Many people in Baltimore woke to a surprise Wednesday morning: Their city removed all its Confederate monuments in the dead of night.

Workers load statues of Robert E. Lee and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson onto the bed of a truck. Photo by Alec MacGillis/AFP/Getty Images.

Four monuments honoring the spirit of the confederacy — one of Robert E. Lee, another of Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument, and the Roger B. Taney Monument — were gone by 5:30 a.m., the Baltimore Sun reported.

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President Obama visited a mosque in Baltimore today, and it's big news.

Obama visits a mosque in Malaysia in 2009. Photo by Mandel Ngan/Getty Images.

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