BAPL Local HistoryMen of South BethlehemCentral Moravian ChurchBethlehem Steel
Local History at the Bethlehem Area Public Library

First Annual Message of Archibald Johnston, 1918  [continued]

As would be expected, the sociological problems presented in these communities of dense population have (on account of our liberal form of government) been difficult and slow of solution. With respect to one item alone, that of health, it may be noted that out in the open, natural country, the resident may suffer alone for his carelessness, but in man's artificial city, where natural agencies, like sunshine, air and drainage are not able, unaided, to cope successfully with the waste products of human existence, the rate of mortality is increased and becomes greatest in the most crowded and uncleanly tenement districts. No amount of personal hygiene can protect one against the invasion of an epidemic whose avenues of approach are the water or food supplies, as well as improper disposal of waste products, and hence, in the, city, it has come to be generally understood that public measures are necessary to protect and promote the health of the individual. These essentials assume greater importance with the size of a community. Nevertheless, adequate and absolutely safe water supplies and proper disposal of sewage and other wastes are NOT to be found in the cities and towns of the Lehigh Valley.

Every municipality is morally bound to furnish to its inhabitants an abundant supply of pure water, the purest air possible, and a well-drained soil (which means proper sewerage), street cleaning, garbage and refuse collection and disposal. Any other than these sanitary standards in a city will be considered, some day in America, as criminal negligence and sufficient cause for just punishment; since public health is a public duty. But these necessities can be obtained only by consent of the inhabitants through adequate taxation.

A very important element of our population is to be found in our children who have been born and are being brought up in the city, and I emphasize that the surroundings of and the advantages afforded to

 

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