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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/611

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THE PROBLEM OF MUNICIPAL NUISANCES.

only part of Regent Street which has recently been distinguished by a foul smell. The stench (arising from foul sewage according to some, from foulness of the roadway according to others) has been specially obvious to the passer-by about the center of the street, and between Oxford Circus and Margaret Street. In the latter place it was particularly disgusting on Saturday evening. Other streets in the West of London have, and are, suffering from persisting stink" (sic! punctuation and all). "It has been suggested that this offensive state of things has arisen from the long spell of dry weather, and consequent insufficient flushing of the sewers or streets, or both. But are the sanitary authorities of the metropolis so wanting in ingenuity, energy, and means that the effects of absence of rain upon the sewers and streets at this time of the year can not be counteracted?"

From the above it appears that New York is not the only city where rain is expected to help in cleaning the streets, or where the public authorities are expected to make up for the meteorological defects of an exceptional season.

In the removal of ashes and garbage, London does not seem to be much in advance of New York, as witness the following extracts: "What can be more unreasonable than the practice of accumulating kitchen stuff and household dirt of every description in heaps under our windows during the heat of summer?. . . The scavenging of our cities and towns is done by contract, and the men employed in the work are so underpaid that, as a matter of experience, they decline to discharge their duty except when bribed by householders. Complaints reach us of the extent to which the practice of levying black-mail is carried by the London dustman, and doubtless the evil is rife elsewhere. Servants are powerless to compel the inert and insolent men who parade the streets with carts to empty the dust-bins. . . . Altogether, the system of clearance is a fiasco."—(London "Lancet," August 17, 1878, p. 233.)

Substitute garbage-box for dust-bin in the following letter,[1] and it might do for the complaint-book of the "Herald":

Meadowside, Putney, September 20, 1880.

Sir: At an inquest held a few days ago on the body of a child who died at Lisson Street, Marylebone, the coroner, Dr. Hardwicke, commented strongly on the serious injury to health occasioned by the present system of allowing dustbins to remain in London and its environs for lengthened periods without being cleaned out. Perhaps you would bring your influence to bear in this matter, which certainly appears to me to require looking into.

An uncleaned dust-bin, with its festering mass of decaying animal and vegetable refuse, particularly in hot weather and in crowded districts, is a grave evil, as any one who has given the slightest attention to the matter of hygiene will allow, and the present system of having them emptied once in a fortnight is simply absurd. Of course, those who are addicted to cleanly habits can have their
  1. London "Lancet," October 2, 1880, p. 563.