TOWN EDITION. [lssued at 5 p. m. ] The Ashburton Guardian. THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 1881. Sanitary.
Sickness now prevails to an alarming extent in and around Ashburton, and the death rate has been unusually large, eight persons having died last month in the township from dysentery alone. That the unusually hot weather has had to do with the prevailing bad health is, of course, at once admitted, but hot weather is always to be expected in the summer, and residents should be prepared for it. But this preparation should be going on all the year round, and should consist of careful attention paid to the cleanliness of their homes and the immediate vicinity of them. When people are lax in this particular, arid allow all sorts of slops to be thrown about their yards, permit refuse heaps to accumulate near their pumps, and neglect to have offal and other perishable matter buried, so that it may assimilate with the soil, and be beyond the reach of the hot sun’s influence, and thus be prevented from polluting the atmosphere, it can only be expected that danger to health will follow. It is worthy of remark that an epidemic arising from a polluted atmosphere or impure water is always most prevalent and fatal where the ordinary attentions to sanitary requirements have been neglected, and nature always does assert herself, and brings her own punishment on those who infringe her laws. At the meeting of the Wakanui Road Board some sad tales were told of neglect by suburban residents of the most apparent and necessary attention to sanitary requirements, and when such a state of things exists as those pointed out by Messrs. Mayo and Winter it is not to be wondered at that the drinking water of the people becomes polluted with filth, and the soil around their dwellings gives off noxious exhalations. We have always contended that, with due care observed in regard to sanitary matters our underground water supply should last for many years in a sufficiently pure slate to be safe and harmless. But when the settlers themselves defy all sanitary laws, and, in the face of 'a knowledge that their drinking water flows so near the surface, do nothing to prevent impurities reaching it, but do their best, by carelessness and thoughtlessness in their habits, to adulterate it with impurities, they will soon render it useless for domestic purposes. On this subject of the water supply it has been asserted that the introduction of the water from the Domain to the town has much to do with the sickness, and the fact is referred to that the channels after aday’s flow are covered with a green slimy fungus as a proof. It is said by some that from the Domain the wells have received a large accession of water, and with this accession a share of the fungus with which it is said to teem. This may or may not have to do with the sickness, butr-i't has to be remembered also that the water is taken from the river, and there are hundreds of people who use „the river water alone, without any filtration through the domain shingle,, and we have heard no complaints fro# them. No, we must seek for the ciuse of the dysentery, now prevalent, SL its true and selfapparent source—-the pollution of the soil in the immediate vicinity of wells and dwellings ; and we are glad to find that the Wakanui Board is of this opinion, and are taking urgent steps to move in the matter. They have voted a salary of Li a-week for the services of an Inspector of Nuisances, and have in view co-opera-tion with the Borough Council in instituting a thorough and searching inspection of the town and suburbs. The matter will be brought up on Monday evening at the Borough Council, and no doubt the Board will find ready allies in- the members of the Corporation. The, Upper Ashburton Board will also be approached, as a portion of the suburbs is in that district. Meanwhile, seeing the case is urgent, we hope that every attention will be paid by settlers to keeping their places clean, and' guarding against sickness by preserving the air they breathe, and the water they drink, from communication with impurities that need not, with due attention, exist at all.