§ MR. O'DONNELL
asked the President of the Local Government Board, If he will inquire whether it is true that at Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay, the three principal ports of communication with this country, there is a complete absence of the most elementary sanitary precautions; whether it is the case that at Madras the people have been dying of small pox during several months of the present year at the rate of many hundreds a week, and that every kind of abomination is still allowed to accumulate even within a short distance of Government House; whether it is the case that at Bombay there is no kind of epidemic hospital, but that cholera and small pox patients are treated promiscuously in the general hospitals, not-withstanding the constant presence of cholera, and although during three months of last year upwards of a thousand persons died of small pox in Bombay; whether it is the case that in Bombay, even in times of serious epidemics, the only means of disposing of infected sewage is by pumping it into the harbour, crowded with shipping under destination for all parts of Europe; whether it is the case that the Army Sanitary Commission has recently reported that "the increase of cholera in Calcutta is a perfectly legitimate consequence of filth unremoved and accumulating among the dwellings of the people;" and, whether a recent Government resolution has recorded the fact that multitudes of the people of Calcutta are allowed "to live in the midst of filth, to sleep on filth, to bathe in filth, to drink filth, to cook in filth, and wash their clothes in filth?"
§ MR. J. K. CROSS
It is not true that at Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay, there is a complete absence of the most elementary sanitary precautions. In each of the three Presidency towns there is an organized Municipal Health Department, and last year the expenditure of the three Municipalities on sanitation 1415 and sanitary objects was over £225,000, out of a total expenditure of less than £800,000. There has been a bad epidemic of small pox in Madras during the present year; but at the date of the latest Returns received it has greatly diminished. The sanitary state of Madras is not good; but much is being done to improve it. There is no permanent epidemic hospital in Bombay. On the occasion of epidemics isolated temporary hospitals are erected, and burnt when no longer needed. A portion of the sewage of Bombay is discharged into the harbour. Both the Municipality and Government have long been anxious to get rid of this system, and several Commissions have inquired into possible alternatives; but there are great physical difficulties. The Government of Bombay have lately given the Municipality formal notice to discontinue the system. The words cited relate not to the sanitation of the City of Calcutta, but to that of the ''Bustees," or Native villages within the municipal limits, which is very unsatisfactory, and regarding which the Government of Bengal considers that the Municipality has not done all that might be done.
§ MR. O'DONNELL
asked the Secretary to the Local Government Board, what steps he proposed to take to preserve the people of this Country from the dangers of constant communication with pestilential localities, especially at a time when there was so much contagion abroad?
MR. GEORGE RUSSELL
We rely for defence against cholera, in the first place, upon the efficiency of our customary sanitary operations; especially upon purity of water supplies, and upon the removal of excremental matters and their products. As cholera in England is, for the most part, spread by means of foul water and of infected excrements, these are the most important securities. In the second place, we rely on provision made at our ports for the detection of imported cases of sickness, and for the seclusion of such cases until danger of infection is at an end. And as regards small pox, which is a disease not peculiar to foreign countries, we have confidence in the power of vaccination and re-vaccination to limit its spread. These various measures, properly carried out, afford the best practical protection to this country against the danger of constant com- 1416 munication, with pestilential localities abroad.
§ MR. O'DONNELL
asked whether the Secretary to the Local Government Board could state if any special precautions had been taken as to the importation of disease from the Indian ports during the last 12 months?