The Disgusting Things I Found in the Düssel

Yesterday I took advantage of the nice weather and went fishing for garbage in the local stream that runs through my neighborhood, the Düssel.

The main find was bottles. At least 100 of them. Everything from small schnapps bottles to beer bottles to hip flasks of cheap vodka to actual wine bottles. All covered in and/or filled with nasty blackish gunk. Here are three of them, and what looks like a decaying can of Red Bull, just to give you an idea:


But wait! That's not all! Once I actually got into the middle of the river, I found all sorts of other garbage, including 7-8 bike locks, an umbrella, various metal rods, a lightbulb, a pair of scissors, clothes, and rotten plastic bags. Here's just a selection:


Finally, exhausted, I had to give up. It's pretty tiring wading through mud and hauling heavy sacks of garbage up the riverbank. And I found all of this in only a 10-meter-long section of the river south of a well-traveled bridge.

There's still a bunch of junk in only this section of the river. So I'm going to go back today, and hope to at least get this section cleaned up.

Düsseldorfers, you should be ashamed of yourselves. Really, light bulbs? Umbrellas?

On a cheerier note, it turns out that rubber boots are surprisingly comfortable! Also, it seems that at least some life forms can survive in this filth. The ducks stay away from this part of the river, probably having cut their feet on broken glass. But I did one adult and a few juvenile Kamberkrebs, the spiny-cheeked crayfish. Unfortunately, this is an invasive species from America which is an asymptomatic carrier of crayfish plague, which has devastated native European crayfish populations. I probably should have ended them, but I didn't have the heart.

And now, off to start Phase 3 of Operation Glasshole™. I should get some kind of medal for this.

10 thoughts on “The Disgusting Things I Found in the Düssel

  1. Well it was fun playing along with this hoax but like all good things this must end.

    Fact: Düsseldorf is the richest city in Germany, has been debt-free since 2007. Sidewalks are paved with marble, lamp-posts decorated with gold leaf.

    Fact: Düsseldorfers are the best-dressed Germans, have money coming out of their ears. Would not be seen dead holding a beer bottle in a public park.

    Fact: Troublesome foreigners do not exist in Düsseldorf, the only foreign community allowed are the Japanese, who are even richer and neater than German D’dorfers.

    Fact: Gardens and parks are meticulously maintained by white-gloved specialists trimming blades of glass with nailclippers. Transgressors chucking junk into a brook would have been incinerated by a powerful automatic laser.

    Conclusion: All the photographic evidence must be from elsewhere. Probably Cologne.


  2. See? That’s why concepts like sustainability (or to use the German phrase heard very often: Nachhaltigkeit) are actually more than necessary. I know these days it’s become fashionable among conservatives to rail against environmental protection or green politics, they just wanna uphold their throwaway society. But there should be a common agreement that we should leave an intact planet for the next generation.


  3. Good for you, Andrew 🙂 When I lived in Haan bei Duesseldorf, my daughter and I used to pick up quite a lot of garbage on our walks and bike rides through the local woods, not to mention large quantities of broken glass. People there are pigs.


  4. Covanto is a stock I have that converts waste to energy

    X-Fuels supposedly has some patent too, but when I started to read an SEC Filing it seemed to be a Fuel Cell related things.

    Du bist der Lebende Meister und hast Bewegung fuer Fett getauscht/verwandelt


  5. Good job, Andrew. I hope a local newspaper catches you in the act and writes a profile: “Foreigner cleans up after Germans” 🙂

    Would be nice if a local bar would sponsor you a few drinks after your efforts.

    You do realize that you are going about this all the wrong way, though, right? First you form a Verein for the preservation of the Düssel, then you hold interminable meetings about the Satzung, then you obtain local sponsorship (t-shirts) and state funding, and finally, the Verein convinces a class of schoolchildren to do this for an afternoon after composing at least six pädagogische Konzepte on the topic… Then everyone retires to the Vereinslokal and at least one member of City council claims all the credit for it.


  6. Back from an evening of debate, topic: the election in the U.S.

    Moderator, from “German Marshall Fund” (one of the innumerable transatlantic think tanks and networking clubs) started with two panelists, one each from Democrats Abroad and Republicans Overseas.

    The Dem wasted no time milking her home-field advantage (in Germany, Donald Trump is Satan incarnate) to the max. There were maybe 300 people in attendance, about half-and-half Germans and U.S. expatriates. The Rep put up a brave front, but you could tell his heart was not in it. Instead of counter-attacking Hillary’s Clinton character vigorously every time that Trump’s locker-room talk was brought up, he repeatedly (once would have been enough) stressed that he found what Trump said “repugnant” and distanced himself from it. He’s a nice guy, a Texan (son of immigrants from Germany), but his hangdog demeanor and defensive posture lacked in combativeness and I told him so afterwards.

    After the break, these two were joined by a lady from Washington D.C. (another think-tank denizen) and the foreign-policy spokesman for the German Watermelon Green Party (who had brought a ridiculous-looking Green Party flag along to put on stage). The Green politician and the Dems Abroad rep competed for who could emit the most derisive snorts whenever the name “Trump” was mentioned, the Green also asked whether as a Muslim, he would even be allowed into the U.S. in the event of a Trump victory (never mind that Trump quickly clarified that Muslim politicians, businesspeople, artists etc. could still get in even under his initial proposal, which in any case subsequently was toned down to “extreme vetting”).

    Immigration was one of the topics, unsurprisingly the Green was the most strident in favor, going out of his way to defend chancellor Merkel from any criticism and praise her handling of the “refugee” crisis to the skies. Once again, this proved that there is no opposition in the German parliament — the Greens are the coalition-partner-in-waiting — and instead there is one big Uniparty ramming the government’s policy down the electorate’s throat. Apparently out of a fear of being considered “mean”, the Republican went along, saying that Germany needs workers, its birth rate is too low, and all the usual pablum without any indication that he was aware of the impossibility of making this uncontrolled influx of a million plus work.

    The lady from D.C. was the only one who struck a cautionary note, saying that Americans were complimenting Germany on its “humanitarian” effort but taking a “wait and see” attitude as to how this would work out. Notably, she said that a President Clinton could be expected to purse a more “muscular” foreign policy, especially with respect to Russia, than Obama has. Spoke to her, too, afterwards. Nice lady, sharp and perceptive.

    The Dem, meanwhile, had little more to offer than repeating “Eww, Trump is disgusting, can you imagine his thumb on the nuclear button”. Every panelist had something negative to say about “populists” (in the U.S. and Europe). I guess when people vote the way you want them to, they are democratic, but if they don’t they are populists (bad).

    Questions from the audience ran from the bizarre — a German, perhaps anticipating a Trump victory, asked about the mechanism for impeaching a President — to gushingly pro-Hillary. One exception was the black lady who started her question “As an African-American, I …” (which usually means a lengthy condemnation of YT’s sins follows), but in this instance, she also managed to wedge in a slam on Clinton for supposedly having called African-Americans “superpredators”. Interesting, had not known about that.

    And that was it. If you’re an American overseas and have not mailed in your vote yet, do it tomorrow. Even if you write in a candidate because all the choices are unacceptable. Not voting at all lets them know you don’t care and they can pay even less attention to what you want.


  7. This video from 1994 contains the Clinton quote on “super-predators”. Judge for yourself. Context matters of course but I wouldn’t conclude from her statement that she used the term super-predators to refer to African Americans only.


  8. Isn’t it more about the hypocrisy of the presumption that African Americans are a Democrat constituency and how inherently racist that is (they don’t all think the same)? Like the narrative that brown and black people are or should be Islamic (in spite of the Islamic prophet being white and the racism against Africans in Islamic scripture) and therefore brown/black/Muslims are an anti US constituency – including anti Democrat – as that YT channel likes to have it. It’s all nasty, divisive, insidious bullshit.


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