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From Emily H.

by on October 29, 2013

From Emily H.

This New York Times article reminded me of the point in The Engineering of Katrina and the Disasters of Tomorrow that the Growth Machine plays a role in environmental destruction. In the 1800s, engineers in London built a system of tunnels that would catch the sewage and divert it further downstream below the capital. But, that system is no longer working because London is now double the size and there is not enough green space left to “properly” absorb the rain water. The system is now overflowing as often as once a week and raw sewage is forced into the Thames. This article also begs the questions: who is responsible for the expenses of projects that will improve the environment and the health of residents and who is responsible for the fact that this system is now failing?

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2 Comments
  1. This shows how the growth machine works in our daily lives. The government built a system of tunnels that would catch sewage before it went down into the Thames. The Thames was one of London’s main places for drinking water. It was very concerning that prior to the construction of these systems of tunnels there was so much sewage being dumped into peoples drinking water. This caused many sicknesses and even worse, thousands of deaths. With the growth machine, this system is not big enough because it can not support the amount of people in London. This growth machine has expanded to quickly and so there has to be another tunnel construction in order to keep this sewage away and prevent this from happening again.

  2. ksbarbieri permalink

    Like mentioned above, this mirrors the growth machine in New Orleans and the MRGO canal. Clearly this tunnel was built to sustain a population half the size of what London is today and because of that it can’t meet the city’s needs anymore. More than a flaw in construction at the time, its just a system that was built with a much smaller population in mind. Rather than invest in a private company and put $6 billion into the old sewage system, it seems like it would be a better idea for the canal to become a public/government owned canal since everyone in London has to pay for it anyway and to try and find an alternate solution that is more sustainable. In the article they mentioned building two smaller canals which would cost much less, or trying to find sustainable alternatives such as creating more green space and it seems as if this is the direction they should be moving in.The canal is a reasonable way to get rid of waste, it keeps sewage off the streets and doesn’t directly expose people to sewage, but its also something that was built in the 1850s, and it seems as if alternate ideas may be available, considering that this is over 150 years old.

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