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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/607

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THE PROBLEM OF MUNICIPAL NUISANCES.

Götel states that things are much better managed in Lyons and Bordeaux in this respect—very much smaller cities, be it noted.

So it appears that the problem of the expeditious and inoffensive removal of household refuse has not yet been solved in Paris, the opinion of amateur sanitarians in this country to the contrary notwithstanding.

Last December there were two heavy snow-falls in Paris, only four days apart. The first storm crippled the street-cleaning department, and after the second the authorities were almost in despair, being hampered, as ours are, by the lack of funds, and, while their hands were tied, being harassed, howled at, and snapped at by the journalistic jackals. Almost a complete history of this episode can be gathered from the following comments of the press:

"As regards locomotion, the streets are gradually becoming more practicable for both riding and walking, thanks to the army of sweepers that the municipal authorities have at length set to work. It is remarked, however, that on the occasion of the last heavy fall of snow in Paris, some five or six years ago, the public thoroughfares were cleared much more rapidly than this time, owing to the military having been engaged in the task, and some surprise is expressed that they were not made use of this year. Certain it is that the public have had to suffer much loss and inconvenience, which they might have been spared by more prompt and energetic measures on the part of the authorities."—(London "Standard" Paris correspondent, Decembers, 1879.)

"In some of the public gardens the snow is untouched, and they have ceased to be thoroughfares; but in the streets it is slowly being carted away, the traffic being carried on under great difficulties. Most of the tramways have stopped working."—(London "Times" Paris correspondent, December 10, 1879.)

The depth of snow that fell in these storms was estimated to be fifty centimetres (twenty inches). The chief of the Department of Public Works, M. Alphand, being called upon to explain why he did not immediately remove it all, stated that there had fallen altogether about 7,000,000 cubic metres of snow, and that it cost three francs a cubic metre to remove it, or 21,000,000 francs for the whole (about 84,000,000). The Municipal Council did not feel authorized to expend this vast sum, but they did generously vote 500,000 francs ($100,000), in addition to the regular appropriation for street-cleaning, and M. Alphand was thus enabled to put an immense force at work upon the streets.

It is worthy of notice how differently this public officer was treated from our own. In the spring of 1879 our Police Commissioners were summoned before the Mayor, and two of them removed from office because they had not kept the streets clean during the winter. No extra appropriation for them—nothing but disgrace! A comparison of the condition of the streets in both cities may be instructive. In