Изображения страниц

amateur interference, until 1890, and is still a source of constant anxiety and expense. Few who have not seen it can thoroughly realise the destructive power of water, and if disasters are to be avoided in this country, irrigation works in it must be made secure and sound, even if the precautions, that appear to the uninitiated unnecessary, are costly. The third is the control by the State of large streams. Under the old regime in Egypt, water was not thoroughly used, and all sorts of canals were dug, that, while benefiting the land of, probably, one rich owner, ruined, or tended to ruin, the land of his poorer neighbours by infiltration.

Under a clear law which, whether drastic or not, at any rate metes out equal treatment to all, regardless of influence or social position, the people are content, and full use is made of the water.

Under the present law in South Africa, the water is incapable of being fully utilised for irrigation, and will continue to be so unless controlled by the State, or by some other body that can be trusted to administer it in a perfectly unbiassed and impartial manner, and with a view to its thorough utilisation.

The fourth is the necessity for regarding irrigation development on broad lines, and not as a petty matter of politics. Egypt in this respect has been fortunate. Its Government is autocratic, and it has been possible there to carry out the large development of the country without the constant and vexatious interference in matters of general policy that are almost sure to arise under a popular and party form of Government.

Had the construction of the Barrage in 1833, or its repair in 1833, been decided on by popular vote, it is morally certain that the inhabitants of a country already burdened with debt would have refused to incur further liabilities. Egypt then would have continued to produce staple crops of beans and barley instead of the rich one it now exports. It is also almost certain that a plebescite would have vetoed the construction of the dam at Assouan, or other large works designed to improve, in a way they did not understand, the summer supply of water.

South Africa has a more intelligent population than Egypt, and any irrigation schemes in it will be much smaller and more obvious than those in that country. Still, there is a little danger that irrigation schemes may be blocked for want of funds, due to the desire of particular districts that the money should be distributed among them for farm improvements or very small dams for stock. Such improvements are not inconsistent with expenditure on larger works, but unless the subject is looked at from the standpoint of general development, it may happen that sums subscribed by the general taxpayer may be used solely for the benefit of particular individuals without materially increasing the general wealth of the country, and that the available water will not be made thorough use of, which would practically entail the loss of a national asset.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]



rsava laite




silu DD











A general discourse on Sanitary Science, even at a Congress like this, would, I fear, be of little avail, for under the title are included the questions of providing communities and individuals with Pure Air, Pure Water, Pure Food; the consideration of Climate and Soils; the healthy construction of Habitations, Schools, Workplaces, Prisons, Hospitals, Barracks, and other buildings, and the Ventilation and Heating of the same ; Infectious and Contagious Diseases and Disinfection ; Offensive Trades; the Removal and Disposal of Sewage, Refuse and all Waste Matters, and the Disposal of our Dead. These sub-headings are in most cases vast subjects in themselves, and impossible of adequate treatment in a short paper; that, however, with which I intend making an attempt to deal, and that only briefly, is the question of the removal and disposal of Waste Matters.

Having accepted the duty, and decided upon which sub-division of the subject I will write, it becomes my deep concern to consider whether I cannot place before you for your consideration, something new, something important, something which affects the welfare of communities in general, or something which affects this country in particular.

Man in his primitive state had little occasion to worry about Sanitary Science. He alone could not contaminate the air he breathed nor the water he drank, and it does not appear likely that he would attempt to defraud himself by adulterating the food he prepared for his own consumption. He was his own Doctor, his own Architect, his own Local Authority and Sanitary Inspector. With the increase of population, and the formation of small and large communities, an unnatural state of affairs was brought about ; unknown diseases appeared, and man in his ignorance could not at first tell what caused them, nor how to cure or prevent them. Experience and knowledge, however, have throughout the course of ages taught so much, that it is now possible for thousands of persons to dwell in health and comfort on an area where only tens could have lived in safety in past ages. Complicated questions have been gradually solved by wonderful feats of engineering. Water and food are conveyed to huge communities from long distances, and waste matters are removed therefrom and disposed of in various ingenious ways. These are but a small portion of Sanitary Science.

It has been written that outside the range of party politics there is no subject on which so much envy, hatred, malice and all uncharitableness prevail as on the treatment of sewage, and this is not difficult to believe when it is discovered that during the forty years ending 1886, four hundred and fifty-four patents were taken out dealing with sewage.

What has been the number since I am not in a position to state. To the student of the subject there is considerable interest in tracing the improvements and development in the collection, removal and disposal of sewage during the past fifty


years, and, more particularly, perhaps, in the actual Sanitary Appliances used in and about buildings in connection with what is known as the water carriage system. It is not of this system, however, that I propose writing now, but rather the Dry Earth or Pail System which is so prevalent in this country, and with which so little headway seems to be made, it being recognised more or less as a makeshift system, incapable of improvement, and only tolerated until it can be superseded by a sewerage scheme. But for many years to come, in the smaller inland towns and villages especially, it appears very doubtful, owing to the high price of water, its scarcity, or other local drawbacks, whether what is recognised by many as being the ideal method of sewage removal, will be attained.

It is almost with fear and trembling that I approach the real subject of my paper, lest I be charged with advocating a system which it may be considered should be relegated to the past. Let it be remembered, however, that it is the improvement of a system that cannot be avoided, that I am urging, and I am doing so having a full knowledge of the many advantages of the water carriage system, and also its disadvantages. I feel that no useful purpose would be served by a long harangue on this latter method. I have no elaborate drawings for you, no bewildering statistics, and no comparisons of costs.

My paper, which has been prepared hurriedly at the last moment under the stress of anxious official duties, shall be so simple in character, that you may deem it scarcely of sufficient merit to be included amongst others that will be delivered before you ; but the subject of Sanitary Science was given me, and I selected what I considered to be the most important branch of that Science affecting many inland communities to-day. Should any good result from my directing your thoughts in a certain direction I shall be more than satisfied.

The Pail System for the removal of Night Soil is carried out in the various towns of this country according to the dictates of the Municipalities concerned. In some cases by contract, in others departmentally. At some places large receptacles are in use, being removed once a week, or a fortnight might be allowed to elapse.

At other places quite small pails have been adopted, the removals being effected every 24 or 48 hours. In one important town the work of removal is, I believe, carried out in broad daylight; it is usual, however, to select the dead of night. Sometimes the receptacles are hermetically covered and placed in closed vans, or the contents are discharged into tanks and the empty buckets stacked in a box-like arrangement in the fore-part of the vehicle, as in Kimberley. Take any one of these methods, and I think there is no doubt but that disadvantages predominate. Offensiveness or inconvenience is caused at one stage or another, either through the receptacles being allowed to remain too long on the premises, or during the process of removals, and it is small wonder that the man in the street clamours for reforms.

[ocr errors]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »