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They form the commonest of all nuisances existing n the Dis-
tricts, and the most frequent subject of official notices by the
Sanitary Inspectors. To strengthen their hands in the issuing
of such notices, it would be well if the District Committees were
to sanction the enclosure with each notice, of a sketch plan of
such a structure as would be held to meet the approval of the
Local Authority. At present, under the Public Health (Scotland)
Act, the Sanitary Authority is not required to suggest a remedy for
a nuisance, but only to see its removal, and, where structural
works are concerned, to leave the owner to erect what may have
again to be condemned. Of course, in practice, an inspector is
always willing to give advice when asked, but often he is not
asked. The requisites of a proper ashpit are perfectly simple. It
should be of small capacity, to necessitate frequent emptying;
raised several inches above the ground level, to prevent entrance of
surface water; concreted in the bottom and sides, to prevent filth
impregnation of the walls or floor, or of the ground below and
around; provided with a slated shed roof, to prevent access of rain
and to ward off the sun's rays, so as to delay putrefaction of the
contents; thoroughly ventilated on at least three sides and by
the roof; and without any drain, so that the main drains of the
locality may not be choked and polluted by its contents. No
house water should be thrown into it, so that the contents may
be kept dry. Instead, all water should be emptied on a grating,
or into a slop sink, communicating by a trap with the drain.
In erecting such an ashpit the amount saved by having no drain
to provide is often sufficient to pay for the roofing and for the
It is not my purpose to discuss the condition of the structures
in each separate town and village in the county. Speaking
generally, in the more populous places many of the privies and
ashpits are of stone or brick. Some are of wood, saturated with
filth, and a few are of iron. In many premises in the villages
there are no built ashpits, but only accumulations of excrement
and refuse in back gardens, sometimes dangerously near the
shallow wells which form the source of water supply.
The Scavenging of Villages. - The scavenging of villages
is one of the most difficult questions connected with the sanitation
of the county, and has occasioned much discussion, especially in

[Page] 21

the Eastern District. Supposing that proper ashpits are erected,
their contents soon become a nuisance unless regularly and syste-
matically removed.
In some of the colliery rows in the Eastern District, and
in part of Bonnybridge, this is done by a scavenger employed
by the owners. But in ordinary villages, with many different
owners, a proper system can be carried out only by the
Local Authority taking charge of the matter, for when it
is left to individual owners to arrange with farmers, the
intervals that usually elapse between successive removals are
far too long to prevent nuisance. In many cases refuse is
allowed to accumulate for months. Unfortunately the Local
Authority has no power to confine assessment for cleansing to
the part of the District reaping the direct benefit, and till this
disabiity is abolished by legislation no quite satisfactory arrange-
ment is likely to be made. It might, however, be advisable for
the District Committees, acting under section 51 of the Public
Health Act, to issue public notice "for the periodical removal of
manure or other refuse matter." Failure to comply with such
notice involves liability to a penalty not exceeding twenty shillings
per day. The continual suing for penalties is most objectionable,
but the fact of the Local Authority having the power to enforce
them would probably have a good effect even if the power were not
often exercised.* There is no doubt that the accumulations of
rotting filth that fester in sun and rain in the back yards of nearly
all the houses in an ordinary village have a most deleterious
influence on the public health, and especially on the health of
children. They are very apt to be a cause of the spread of such
diseases as diarrhoea and enteric fever, and probably also of
If a resolution, which has been adopted, in slightly different
terms, by two of the District Committees, were given effect to by
parliament, such difficulties as those just discussed would be largely
got rid of, as would also those dependent on the want of building
The resolution is substantially as follows:- That the Secretary
for Scotland be petitioned to introduce a Bill amending the Local
Government (Scotland) Act to empower County Councils (a) to

*The Eastern District, and the Western District so far as regards the
Campsie villages, have now adopted this suggestion.

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