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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/605

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THE PROBLEM OF MUNICIPAL NUISANCES.

officers of those cities find precisely the same difficulties in abating such nuisances that are met with here; and I submit that the public officers of the city of New York ought not to be called or considered stupid, ignorant, or corrupt, because they meet with the same difficulties as the intelligent, honest, and trained public officers of Paris and London, and, like them, do not always succeed in surmounting them to the satisfaction of the public.

This is not the place for a complete discussion of the subject of street-cleaning, but it may be well, as a preliminary to what follows, to call attention to some points on which there is decided popular misapprehension. It is believed by most citizens of New York that ample funds are given to the Bureau of Street-Cleaning, and that, if this money were honestly expended, our streets ought to be as clean as those of Paris. Now, the facts of the case are these:

Our Bureau of Street-Cleaning employs 387 street-sweepers. Paris has a permanent corps of 3,180, besides 190 machines, each doing the work of ten men. Our bureau has to clean, more or less perfectly, 1,415 acres of paved street surface; Paris, 2,667 acres. The great difference in force, in proportion to the work to be done, is apparent at a glance. Our sweepers are paid $1.60 per day for eight hours' work. The Paris sweepers receive sixty cents per day for ten hours' work. For the sake of ease in calculation, we will suppose that as much work is done here in eight hours as in Paris in ten hours. Then each sweeper in New York costs a dollar a day more than each one in Paris. From the figures already given, the following results may be deduced:

If New York sweepers received Paris wages, we should, with our present force, save yearly $141,255.

If New York sweepers received Paris wages, we could, without increasing the expense of street-cleaning, increase the force by 645 men, i. e., nearly treble it.

If there were as many sweepers in New York as in Paris, in proportion to the area required to be cleaned, the expense of street-cleaning in New York would be increased by $474,500.

If Paris sweepers received New York wages, the expense of street cleaning in Paris would be increased by $1,160,700.

As a matter of fact, the expense of street-cleaning in New York for 1879 was $690,000, including $40,000 for removing ice and snow; and in Paris for 1878, $817,000, including $181,000 for the removal of ice and snow.

An important part of the duties of a street-cleaning bureau is the removal of ashes and garbage. It is also exceedingly difficult, in a large city, to do this effectively and economically. I say, in a large city, for in a small village the garbage nuisance is at its minimum, and it increases with the number and crowding of inhabitants. It is unfair to compare the New York method of removing ashes and garbage with that of smaller and less compact towns, like Boston and