The Fifth of July

July 6, 2014

S.S. John W. Brown at berth in early morning.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

It is always interesting to walk around following a major holiday, the 5th of July in this case.  This is the S.S. John W. Brown, which is one of the last remaining WWII-era Liberty ships still afloat and was docked in Fells Point for the July 4th holiday weekend.

S.S. John W. Brown and U.S. flag.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Please take a look at that link for more information about this important part of United States history.

Trash lining the street in Fells Point on July 5th.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Seeing the ship was a distinct bonus as my purpose for going to Fells was to photograph the trash as Fells Point plays a large part in my ongoing documentary of what we throw away.  I have gone down there on the 5th of July the past 3 years to photograph the aftermath of the holiday and it appears that the amount of trash left behind following the celebration is relatively consistent from year-to-year.  What is worth considering is that I awoke at 4:30 a.m. and arrived in Fells by about 5:15 a.m. and just beat the sanitation engineers who were collecting the trash for disposal.  In other words, most people would have no idea just how much trash is generated on such a holiday as it would have been gone before folks were out-and-about, especially those who may have been doing the celebrating.  The exception, of course, would be those who work in the restaurants and bars and whose responsibility it is to take out the trash.

Partially eaten slice of pizza and box laying on sidewalk.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Speaking of celebrating, eating and drinking alcohol is a central, cultural, aspect of the 4th and Fells Point is a popular destination due to the proximity of Baltimore’s Inner Harbour, the water, and the many and varied restaurants and bars.  Therefore, it is not surprising that so much of the trash visible on the 5th is reflective of food…

Pile of empty beer cases laying on sidewalk.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

and alcohol consumption.

Empty alcohol bottles in trash can.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

With regard to the latter, The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has published these statistics about American drinking habits.  Interestingly, this article from 2011 indicates that Americans have the lowest amount of alcohol consumption in the developed world-the source of this data is the World Health Authority.

Lost baby bottle laying in the gutter.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Sippy cup sitting on fence.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Of course, there are other things to drink on a walk around Fells, and sometimes those delivery devices are left behind as well.

Empty New Amsterdam liquor bottle laying in gutter.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Returning to the subject of alcohol consumption and cultural norms, here is a closing thought.

National Bohemian beer can sitting on sidewalk.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Holidays are one of the “time outs” when the rules of normative behaviour are temporarily suspended and so it would seem reasonable that more alcohol would be consumed on the 4th of July.  (December 31st, New Year’s Eve, would be another.)  That is one reason for the overwhelmingly large amount of alcohol-related trash that is thrown away between the 4th and 5th of July.  Kinda gives an added meaning to the title of this post.

Take care.

 

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