Thursday, February 23, 2012

Where nips go to die

The concept of an elephant graveyard, the place where the pachyderms reportedly go when it is their time, is well known.

Lesser known -- until right now -- is the nip graveyard.  Regular readers will recall my rant from last weekend about the miniature plastic liquor bottles that are tossed out of car windows onto the streets.  They indicate a scary amount of alcohol in the bloodstream of drivers in our neighborhoods.

But not all nips enter the environment from moving cars.  It appears that a large number of imbibers also drain them on their way to or from mass transit, presumably before or during dates or going to clubs.  I guess I should feel better about the fact that these folks, at least, will not be driving cars.  But why do they feel it necessary to toss out the bottles on ground on the walkway to the train, when there are garbage bins within sight?

This creates the nip equivalent of the elephant graveyard, as documented in the short video below.  It was taken near Cleveland Circle in Boston, on the passageway to the Green Line.

If we can't stop the littering habit, why doesn't the MBTA (our transit agency) clean up this mess?

If you cannot see the video click here.


nana said...

ug. always puzzles me also, to see all the empty containers and other trash around Jamaica Pond a few feet from huge trash containers. fortunately it's usually pretty rapidly cleaned up by regular pond-walkers and workers. it's the mentality that says "trash bins are for YOU dummies"

Mark B. said...

I'd take this a good deal more seriously if I saw a glove and a plastic rubbish bag come out at the end.

Granted that so many people are pigs, what are you going to do about it? "Dammit, I'm sick and tired of this - I'm going to write a blog post about it!"

Part of Problem : Part of Solution

Paul Levy said...

I do that in my neighborhood, but I can't handle the whole city. Perhaps the publicity will help persuade the MBTA to clean it up.

Susannah said...

As my husband says "never mind, a grown-up will come along and pick that up for you". To a large degree we are not a society that takes responsibility for ourselves, even down to little things like nips.

Besides, trash bins are for "lame-o"s, and people that drink alcohol out of little nips are too cool for school. And who knows, maybe it is some kind of a competition, as in "we Cleveland Circle commuters drink more than you guys on the Riverside line". When dealing with nipsters, one needs to think outside the box (or shold I say "ouside the bin"?)

Btw, I like your elephants sand sculpture shot. When and where is that from?

Paul Levy said...

Just a web search.

Paul Levy said...

Selected comments from Universal Hub reposting of this story (

-- Put a 5 cent deposit on em, and watch them disappear.

If they're going to be plastic and not glass, they should be put under redemption law.

-- Well, it's not like that's the terminus for the C line and there are dozens of T employees within 100 yards who could walk over occasionally and clean the place up - oh wait, it's exactly like that.

-- Ever heard of us? Those bottles are probably outside the stated scope of work in the employee's negotiated contracts or work descriptions.

-- You assume they aren't the ones littering in the first place.

-- Most likely cause is BC kids drinking nips while waiting for the T to take them into the city for a night on the town.

BC is just the worst.

-- Really?! I always forget that Boston residents don't drink. Remember the old saying. "When in doubt blame college kids." They are probably the ones gentrifying the South End and causing the murders in Dot as well.

-- This is nothing compared with the Tab graveyard at the end of the Green Street platform. Yeah, I know--I didn't know that you could still buy Tab either, but apparently someone has a source AND they like to drop their cans off the end of the platform. There are dozens there, in varying stages of fade.

-- My favorite is the Dunkin Donuts cup graveyard in the middle of the green line tunnel between Kenmore and Hynes when heading inbound by one of the red signals. There's probably some operator who everyday just pitches his cup there while waiting for the signal to change.

Aditya said...

We seem to be gradually getting into a third world behavior of littering and then tolerating the trash amongst ourselves.

The story is the same in New York and its suburbs and I guess it is getting to be typical of many urban centers. It is a direct result of lack of social education and a decline in social values.

Maybe a 5c deposit will change behavior, and I suspect a 10c deposit will at least incent some to pick up and clean out as well.

Anonymous said...

I live on a cul-de-sac in Newton - i.e. the trash I find regularly while walking my dog "around the block" in the morning is not from folks on their way to or from anyplace. Nips, beer cans and the occasional (filled!!) condom obviously tossed from a car window are astounding. As a dogwalker, I always have plastic bags with me and can try to pick up (at least some of) the trash. I was able to extract my best revenge, however, the morning I found a large kitchen-sized trash bag on my front lawn. Inside were (surprise, surprise) lots of beer cans...and some leftovers from a take-out pizza restaurant. What the "perpetrators" failed to do, however, was remove the delivery receipt that had their name, address and phone number on it. I walked several blocks to the address and left the bag on the front steps with a hand-written note: "to whom it may concern: next time you don't want your parents to know you've been having a party when they're not home, be a little more careful about how and where you leave your trash". I left my phone number, but, surprisingly, I never heard from them :-).