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JAMA 100 Years Ago
September 28, 2011


JAMA. 2011;306(12):1385. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1314

Until lately American practice in the matter of garbage disposal has not been a matter for national pride. Two methods have been common: unsightly, malodorous piles of decomposing refuse have been—in some places still are!—allowed to accumulate in the vicinity of dwellings, or cheap, ineffectual “disposal plants,” installed and operated by greedy or dishonest private contractors, have been run for a few years and then allowed to lapse into well-earned oblivion. Neither procedure is creditable to a civilized state. There are now signs that the era of slovenliness and waste in this as in many other municipal activities is drawing to a close. In many places local conditions are being studied by unpaid competent commissions rather than exploited by junketing aldermanic committees. A beginning has been made in establishing high-grade modern plants under expert supervision and in operating them under expert management, which is just as important.