Helplessness in the Face of Dirt

In early Victorian Britain, health and cleanliness were visible challenges in the slums. The outbreak of cholera in 1832 and 1837 prompted the Government to probe the causes of the fever. In 1838, three medical experts-Dr. Southwood-Smith, Dr. Arnott, and Dr, Kay-submitted Reports anchored on the physical causes of Cholera fever in London. This included Dr. Southwood-Smith's worrisome account of the slums of Bethnal Green and White chapel. Indeed, the above mentioned and others-the Report of the Health Towns Committee published in 1840 and the Report by the Poor LawCommission, authored by Edwin Chadwick and published in 1842-the Report on an Inquiry into the sanitary condition of the laboring population of Great Britain, in addition to the Royal Commission which also compiled Reports in 1844 and 1845 revealed that although Britain was blazing the trail in the world in industrial development, living conditions of its citizens were in a terrible and poor state, with typhoid fever wreaking havoc among the populace. Interestingly, major cities and towns in Nigeria presently are very dirty and overcrowded, while estate developers ignore the rules and regulations guiding the erection of structures. Several homes and shops are constructed in the smallest space with inferior materials and active connivance of government officials.
The dirty habits of the people and absence of facilities for environmental sanitation have converted these cities and towns to poisonous dens of filth and disease, where refuse habitations include streets, drainages, roads, and residential premises. The poor state of septic tanks in homes, badly constructed drainages, lack of potable water, and poor environmental sanitation practices among the people have exposed the nonchalant population to various diseases including Cholera. Of note is the fact that residents and occupants of No. 5 Kehinde Aderibigbes Street, Olorunsogo, Molete, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria, not only vandalized the next building, No. 3 but also converted it to a refuse dump and place where excreta is also dumped. Government officials have long before now admitted the evil, but blame their superiors for the public health situation. Those-in Chrage at all levels of government look on helplessly as the people contend with the hazards of a dirty environment.


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