Quick, what's the the greatest medical breakthrough since 1840?
Give up? Try sewers.
Sewage disposal and clean water supplies, among other aspects of sanitation, were chosen over 15 key medical advances named in an international poll by the British Medical Journal (BMJ).For all you cynics out there, yelling about DNA or antibiotics, I propose an experiment... try living for a month or two without, (a) your electron microscope, or (b) your indoor plumbing.
Let me know which you find more indispensable next month... if you're not lying in a coma in your own filth.
Waterborne disease, through inadequate sanitation and hygiene, is responsible for about 80 per cent of all sickness in the world, killing around 14,000 people each day.My wife's grandfather was born on a farm thirty minutes from here without plumbing or electricity. He made his way to the big city, got a university degree, married, taught highschool, eventually becoming principal... and never once, in my wife's memory, spoke of his rural salad days.
As a result of sewer systems built by the Victorians, the infant mortality rate decreased to about 1 per cent over the next 100 years. In countries such as Bangladesh it is still as high as 12 per cent.
Call me spoiled, but the older I get... that punishingly hot twenty minute shower every morning becomes less of a luxury and more of a necessity.
I thank all that is holy for indoor plumbing.