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FROM RUBBISH TO ELECTRIC LIGHT., Press, Volume LXII, Issue 12278, 23 August 1905
FROM RUBBISH TO ELECTRIC LIGHT.
. r-*~- . ■ I STRAY FACTS ABOUT THE DESTRUCTOR. To say that this is a wonderful ago j is to voioo a drab, hardly pardonable platitude. But the more one looks about, and peeps beneath the surface of things, ceasing to take all for granted, the more does tho conviction grow that the day of miracles is notyet ttaad. Science hats failed in ono or two things; it'has not yet learnt the secret of iiunemuting baser metals into gold r of distilling tiro, elixir of life, or of bridling an angry woman's tongue; but its failures are tew, and daily grow fewer- To take a. commonplace illustration. Imaging, tho interior of the oha-.tcly beautiful" Roman Catholic Cathedral at Mi evening service; thesonorous rythni of the grandly swelling ratuiie, tho robed priests, ; and tho slender, stately columns rising tip towards the fretted vault, touched into white, virgin beauty by the kiss of the cool electric light. Dwell on tho beauty of it all, and then try to hold th© in-oomprehcn-iiblo truth that that aamo bright and .encompassing light that throws-the splendid pile into grey relief enco lay in your own ugly cinetbin, in the form of dbcaidsd liitibi-h «uvd unlovely sweepings.of household cdd« and emh. Ludicrous though it eeeni* at first glaneo, tale (itatemeut us yet a sober truth. Thrown un-ceremoniously into the rubbish heap by c.eanly housewives, the unwelcome .refusti is taken away by tlio City Council men, carted to tho destructor, there- burnt and puriiied by lira/ till.it patens into steam, and then eeives ite tunction by genoratirfg the electricity whose light illumines tho cathedral. Impossible though it seem .-without' thinking, it i≤ thus easy to weavo a glamour of imagination oven around ■tiiat dingy, prosaic building known as tho d>e&tructor. Faimltar as in is to everybody—its smoke-grimed lcsty fctack a very landmark—little, indeed is known by tno public of one of the most important .sanitary agents in the municipal life. Tlw> value, of the -work done by the .destructor is appreciated or known only by tlis expert few. Tho leavings end rubbish of every house in Greater Christ-church aix> there safely, and economically diiypoeed. of, and converted to profitable use, instead of being allowed to remain a- menace to tho health of it ho' oommunity. Every day about/ fifty loads of refuse,.or approximately twenty-five tons, are received there and dealt with. As it arrives, each load is earned up an inclined road to tho destnictor. tipped from the top to the second Hoot, roughly sorted and classified according to its burning qualities, and then shovelled into cell , }, or furnaces, and eaten up and consumed until only tho hard, indigestible clinker remains. From half-past, six in tho morning till half after cloven at night, the. glowing furnaces are fed, and all day 'long, with but the briefest of respites, tho bare-armod, smoke-grim-ed stokers are shovelling and raking, filling and emptying. A "Press" reporter had n look round the place yesterday afternoon, learning a great deal ho was ignorant of before kfrom the ootirtoous engineer in chargo, j Mr Wilkinson. A natural question put by tho visitor was wncther a profitable usD was found for all the "clinker"— the hard,'.caked mass left after the purifying, fires have >.!flone their work. Mr Wilkinson explained that the stuff is particularly good for road formation purposes; somo was used by the Council, /and tho remainder Hold to outside buyers. At presem.t, however, the clinker was not utilised. to "tho fullest extent, as the requisite machinery was not installed'■ for classifying, crushing, and other operations. In a ddition . to' its .'; value ■ tor road formation, the clinker can bo made into brickete, and used for building purposes; there was a house <at Redcfiffs, Mr Wilkinson pointed out, built almost wholly of! such material. In many places in tTie United Kingdom, said the engineer, the clinker from the destructors was very largely used for roads, a.nd was found especially suitable for pavements.. Then tho ash from the combustion chrfmber and ash pits made a capital top-dressing for asphalting. Tho uso of clinker had proved very successful at Home, and Mr Wilkinson considered that- tho expenditure of about £150 or £200* in installing the necessary crushing and grading plant would prove a profitable speculation. The ash that comes from the combustion chamber Jβ very'rich'''in ammonia, and could be profitably used for manuring purposes, v farmera were more alive to its value. Tho most imposing part of the destructor is, of course, tho electrical department, which lwLs*boen in operation a little ovfr two yearn. The output of the station is about* 45.000 Board ] .of-Trad©-unite monthly, and the plant consists of ono 150 kilowatt' steam driven generator a.nd two sots of 100 kilowatt each, and there k 'a large storage battery of Tudor cells. The power required <nt the Sydenham waterworks is supplied from the station, and there are many private consumers—offices, shop.?, end dental surgeries getting their supply from the destrnotor. In 'addition to" the illumination of tho Roman Catholic Cathedral and several churches, the light for tho operating theatre-at tho Hospital is furnished from the samo source, whilst the brilliantly illuminated, Royal Cafe and the. Post Office are also served. Some queer things aro found amongst t'tho loads of garbage. Once a pair of frightened kittens was discovered tied up alive- in a paper bag; happily, tho brutal aim of tho callous consignor was defeated, tho little creatures being set «\t liberty to grow up ' into staid matrons. But there k not much treasure trove flmongjst Hi? rubbish. A mr.n p-ays a small sum to tho Council for the privilege ci delving nmongst tho refuse heaps for old iron, bottles, and such like trifles; he tlc-nbtless gets his moneys worth, but he docs not appear to have ever lighted on burked treasure in tho shape of bullion'or bank notes. Tho furnacos'aro veritable pits of fire, Kiiggestivo of the ne-ther regions, a hoat of from 1500 to 2000deg. being constantly maintained. A certain amount of coal har> to be consumed to keep up the requisite temperature, but it is email by comparison. But the destructor serves other purposes besides cf rirbtnsh. It is the altar at which tobacco, tea, and other goods oonfiscrvtcd by , the Customs' Department, are offered up to sacrifice; the amount of tho two luxuries named wilfully destroyed is enough to make smokers and old maids' weep. It is a lethal chamber also for friendless dogs, I and dogs that have had thsir day. ; homeless felines, and an occasional horse put- out of its misery by a friendly bullet. Stray dogs' and oats cast on the world and left without a fireside of their own are lured within tho grim gates ; —to come out in the shape of clinker and electric light. Tho forlorn animals are drowned in a well kept for the purpose, and tihen dropped.on. the sacrinoi&l jpyre. It their shaaes ever re- ; turn to the scone of their murder, what i a grisly battalion of grinning spooks. they must bo! ■ • For nearly four years the destructor ltas been in working operation, and it has. in abundantly justified its being. It is only necessary to glance back at the-old system to realise the immense improvement that has taken place. Formerly the city's refuse,was collected in carts, and then, after often standing in the streets all night, conveyed to tihe sand hills and buried. Apart from the menace to public heaßh, that .system resulted in a dead loss to the city. Now, all the offensivo matter is quickly and effectively destroyed, tihe cost of is reduced, and tho
ye-ry rubbish, itself is turned to.profitable account. As Mr Dobson, the City Surveyor, and Mr Wilkinson remarked, there is absolutely no comparison between tho'old and the new.
FROM RUBBISH TO ELECTRIC LIGHT., Press, Volume LXII, Issue 12278, 23 August 1905
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