Poop Alleys in Urban America
This article was first published as “Poop Alley: The Urban Problem of Human Waste,” on Technorati.
I really love having my own blog. I can say what I want. Now don’t get me wrong. I advocate the truth, I seek the truth, I live by the truth. But on some of the other websites for which I write, I must on occasion, self-edit the uglier truths about the world in which we live. Yes, I must be politically correct. But not here, by golly, not on reagangirl.com.
The key to “poop alley” in El Paso is a culture clash; a supposedly modern Texas city inhabited by less modern immigrants, most of whom are criminal aliens. The standard of living and general hygiene of Americans is far above that of even our closest industrialized competitors such as Germany. Third-world nations, for lack of infrastructure, education, or wealth, live primitively in comparison. Pooping an alleyways, the street, the garden, the park, is no big deal to many immigrants. Americans find this reprehensible; an assault on mores and standards as well as the senses. Immigrants have spread disease through the practices of relieving themselves in open public spaces. The bed-bug crisis has been traced to immigrants from undeveloped countries. Invasive species and food-borne illness are also linked to unrestrained, unchecked immigration from poor, third-world nations.
This is not necessarily a problem that has to be addressed through complete cessation of immigration. Not at all. Legal immigrants who are entrepreneurial, educated, and who love America enough to desire assimilation are good for the economy and the culture. But we need “Ellis Island” type check points at all entry points of immigrants, by sea, air, or by land. Immigrants must be documented, screened for disease, their baggage screened for vermin, invasive species, and other contaminants. And they must have a thorough orientation on the basics of toileting, hand washing, and general hygiene. Public urination and defecation is an assault on the American way, and it needs to be prosecuted the same way.
Mounds of human feces, urine-stained walls, a rancid and disgusting stench:These are some of the phrases that have been used to describe the third-world conditions which exist, not in some undeveloped overseas nation, but in a major American city, El Paso, Texas.
Piles of human excrement have turned several downtown alleyways in El Paso into nothing more than public toilets. But it gets worse. This open sewage where the waste is carried, not into sewer systems and treatment plants, but rather into the streets and business districts of downtown El Paso.
The El Paso poop problems have been traced to a population of immigrant workers who have complained that there are no public toilet facilities readily available. The argument in El Paso is ongoing, and according to a recent article, has been known to Mayor John Cook for awhile. The local government asserts that cleaning up the waste is the responsibility of area business owners. The business owners claim that this is a problem of government: Local government enforcement and regulation, and the state and federal government control of the border and illegal immigration.
El Paso is just one of several American cities that is having to contend with the burgeoning health nuisance of infection from human waste. The “Whale Fountain,” an 11 million dollar creation in the middle of New London, Connecticut, was shut down last weekend because of contamination from human urine, feces, and blood. City Councilor Michael Buscetto said that “Since water started flowing in the whale fountain last month, police and fire officials have been called for people urinating, defecating and washing themselves in the water.” There have been complaints that people who have cut themselves have also used the fountain to rinse off the blood.
The New London problem has not been connected to any single group of people, but Councelor Buscetto describes those who abuse the fountain as people who “just don’t care and they need to be dealt with.”
The cultural impact of open human waste in urban America is dwarfed by the public health implications of these trends. The spinach recall of 2007 was the result of an e-coli outbreak which resulted from the presence of human fecal matter on much of the spinach. There was evidence that some of the migrant workers who picked the spinach had a practice of relieving themselves in the fields during the course of the workday. This is unheard of in modern American agriculture, but is an accepted form of crop fertilization in many poor countries. E-coli is not the only menace presented by human waste. Hepatitis A,B, and C, Dysentery, Typhoid, Cholera, and a host of bacterial, viral, and parasitic diseases are spreadthrough improperly disposed human feces and urine.
The roots of the growing poop problem in the United States are complicated, and it can only be speculated that immigrants who bring with them a lesser standard of hygiene and toileting are at fault. There is some empirical data that connects higher levels of certain disease to parts of American with bigger immigrant populations. Whatever the cause of this repulsive and unhealthy blight in the United States, it is apparent that cities, states, and food companies alike are going to have to address this problem quickly, before our urban centers become unrecognizable and intolerable.