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October 20, 2009

I read this in the Sunday paper and just had to share -
The article was talking about all the stuff that we worry about in our world today. A good thing for me to read cause my son and his family all have 'the flu' right now. Actually the point was to see how 'unsolvables' have been solved. I usually come from a different perspective but it was a good article and handled the issue well.

And one of the issues was Horse Manure.

As urban populations exploded in the 19th century (sounds like our county these last few years) horses were put to work in many ways. Horse power was used to pull streetcars, coaches and fire engines and quite literally for powering manufacturing equipment. The cities became filled with horses. An example - in 1900, New York City was home to around 200,000 horses. One for every 17 people.

Because of this there was what the economists of that time referred to as "negative externalities". These included many things like noise, gridlock, high insurance costs and far too many human traffic fatalities and one of the worst problems:

...... THE MANURE ......

The average horse produces about 24 pounds of it a day. In New York, at that time, that added up to nearly 5 million pounds - A DAY. (and we think we have it bad)

It lined the street like banks of snow and was piled as high as 60 feet in vacant lots and it smelled really bad. It was a fertile breeding ground for flies that spread deadly disease. City planners everywhere were confounded. It seemed as if cities could not survive without the horse - but they couldn't survive with it, either.

And then the problem vanished. The horse was kicked to the curb by the electric streetcar and the automobile.

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