Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Litter archaeology

The  BLM land along Darby Well Road isn’t all a desert paradise. It is, after all, right next to the inactive New Cornelia open pit copper mine. There are also abandoned ranch buildings and the debris that goes with them. Want a chunk of corrugated tin? A bucket without a bottom? An ice chest without a lid?

But the more disturbing thing in this environmentally aware age is the piles of rusting cans and broken bottles. Were they dumped here by the truckload? Were these spots where guys off-shift from the mine would park and drink and toss their empties? There are food cans in the mix, too. Did the ranchers use it as a trash dump? I can only guess what the story is. The cans are rusty, so they’re steel rather than aluminum. That dates most of them. 

Remember when this was the way to open a beverage can?

The first aluminum beer cans appeared in the early 1960s. For a while there were also aluminum-topped steel cans. Pop-top cans and their rings appeared shortly after. 

These used to be tossed everywhere, unless an obsessive person made them into chains

The StaTab can we have now was introduced in the mid ‘70s. So, most of these cans, and probably the shattered glass beer and whiskey bottles with them, are at least 50 years old. The fact they haven’t crumbled into powder by now is a testament to the region’s aridity.

But not all the litter here is old

1 comment:

  1. The gubmn't is really good at policing the private sector into compliance but who is policing them?
    Thanks for documenting this.