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Baltimore Living

Van Smith

Best Eyesore: Trash in the Inner Harbor

Best Eyesore

Trash in the Inner Harbor

About a decade ago, we were kayaking in the still morning hours from Canton to Fort McHenry, and were amazed at a curious phenomenon: hundreds, perhaps thousands, of bottles bobbing in the harbor, catching the rays of the rising sun like so many lobster pots on the coast of Maine. More recently, this summer, we were boating from Fells Point to Canton, and were amazed by another curious phenomenon: hundreds, perhaps thousands, of empty snack bags floating in the harbor, as if an Utz cargo plane had dropped its load over Baltimore. These curiosities are anything but curious, though; we know where they come from. They enter the harbor through the city’s storm-drain system, having been cast off by careless consumers all over the city and washed down gutters in rainstorms. On this one, we’re all part of the problem—so we’re all part of the solution. All we know is, in other coastal cities, we don’t see this problem at such a chronic level. It not only hurts the eyes, it’s a reflection of our civic character. Seems we could do better.

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