Future Landscapes


Fireworks Continued.

From the Copenhagen Post:

Danes have become accustomed to leaving their firework remnants lying about for city crews to pick up

No matter where you live you probably have had to walk over and around the hundreds of thousands of empty fireworks casings left on streets, sidewalks and yards after New Year’s Eve.

City cleanup crews have the responsibility of picking up and disposing of the mess, but many of the celebration remnants are still lying about in neighbourhoods.

Claus Robl, head of Copenhagen’s ‘Clean City’ department, said the entire cleanup process usually takes about a week.

‘This year we’ve got most of the fireworks picked up, but there’s still some out there. The snow has definitely made it more difficult,’ he said.

Robl added that during the cleanup week the department’s employees put in several hours of overtime each day and employs extra workers for the assignment. He said that the practice of people leaving their used fireworks on the ground can be attributed to a ‘cultural’ phenomenon.

‘That’s just the way it’s become now. People are in a party mood and they know someone’s going to come and clean it up anyway,’ said Robl. ‘But we always have the New Year’s cleanup duty allotted to our budget.’

And there will be a bit more cleaning up for the Clean City department to do this year, according to preliminary figures from firework sellers’ association Fyrværkeriforeningen. Around 200 million kroner worth of pyrotechnics were sold in 2009 – a slight increase over the previous year.


I'm just gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that it's not just fireworks on the ground that is the 'cultural' phenomenon. It's the widespread belief and expectation that someone else will clean up after you, so don't bother doing anything about your own mess.

What about the guy who goes around with a torch and burns off all that excess grass growing in the cracks of the sidewalk! Man, what would we do without him. Uncontrollable grass problems galore, surely, would result if he ever lost his job! 

There seems to be a tendency to compartmentalize everything and assign someone to take care of it, instead of everyone taking personal responsibility for their own space. I can't imagine people having a communal garbage pick up here, or a block party... In fact, I think people would look upon you with suspicion were you to suggest that we all do something nice for the neighbourhood without official government involvement. Kinda scary, that.

It really worries me in some respects though. I really get the feeling that if people hear problems on the street (people screaming, fighting, etc) at night, that instead of coming to aid by at least shouting for people to settle down, they would just plug their ears and comfort themselves that the police will get'em, hopefully. What if I was attacked outside my apartment? What if I yelled for help for some reason? I think my neighbors would believe that it is not their problem and would think 'someone else will help/call the police. I don't need to do anything.'

I was just thinking about that because Jane Jacobs talks about the 'eyes on the street' phenomena that is common in densely populated areas. Where there is always the feeling that someone is watching, so you feel safer because of that. But I really don't know if it works like that here, because of the more overpowering cultural feeling that safety and protection is someone else's responsibility.

Anyways. That's a lot different than fireworks. Which I heartily disagree with. I wonder how many fireworks related injuries occur each year here?