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Pollution, Sanitation, and the Australian Cities

Australia is a highly urbanized society today. The high population in Australia has significantly influenced the growth of infrastructure like energy, roads, public transport, and also the water services. These unusual increases of cities have been largely affected by planning movements in, USA, Britain and also in Europe. Australia developed solutions to its urban issues in the past century. The cities in Australia primarily developed after Second World War. This resulted from rapid expansion in the economy, high birth rate, and also immigration into the cities. Australia experienced many challenges in the 19th century in ensuring that the public health was maintained. The challenges were highly steered by the fact that it is the driest continent of all the continents. Australia got into a new era of the region and urban planning after the second war terminated. Even though the environment was not badly damaged the Australians experienced a significant social upheaval.

Australia had to develop several plans to overcome the challenges it was going through. One of the challenges was poor household. During the second war, industrial production had significantly been affected due to the war which required the military financed. One of the challenges that were experienced is that there was a shortage of households. This challenge arose when the soldiers wanted to resettle and join a normal life, but houses due to the rationalization of the supply of the construction materials were few. Also, food and petrol were rationalized too. Melbourne, one of the big cities in Australia, was initially a slum. There was a plan that emphasized abolition of the slum. This movement to abolish the slums was religiously based; it was fighting against the suffering that the poor were going through. At first, this plan to eradicate the slum was pressurized by middle-class reformers in the region, but finally, the government joined in this plan.

The plan after two decades became a central task for government. The government had to authorize the planners fully to improve the ideas by the middle-class administrators. As a result, the slums were all abolished and were replaced by public housing. There were also several plans that were set in Australia that aimed at expansion of the boundaries to offer a future enlargement of the cities. A good example is a metro-scale plan. It was set between the years 1948 and 1951. The plan was aimed at provision of some certainty about the growth of the region in the future. The project was also intended to impose the constraints on the development that had started to occur in the urban area. This plan had a chief goal of changing the face of Sydney to a healthy place for recreation; make it more pleasant and also an efficient place. The suburbs plan, many years after the war, Australia had picked well in the manufacturing and agricultural sectors. The two sectors had thrived well as a result of immigration. The immigration positively contributed to the human labor force. The freedom Australians acquired after the war had given most of them a chance to acquire wealth. They had now started investing in their private houses that they built on their individual plots.

Water pollution was another challenge that was experienced in Sydney as one of the big cities in Australia. The beaches of Sydney experienced water contamination that occurred as a result of the effluents from discharges of the water treatment plants that were situated at Bondi, North Head, and Malabar. These water-treatment plants were releasing large volumes of wastes which could be approximated to a billion liters of treated sewage per day. Population density increased around the beach, and this contributed to the growth of a slum around the beach. Sometimes there was the emission of the sewages due to the overflow of the sewage; this contributed to water pollution. There were also Deep Ocean outfalls (Australia & Davinson, 1997). These outfalls were aimed to discharge the sewage offshore to a distance that was approximately five kilometers away from the shore. These outfalls were not perfect since the waves could still force the waste to the beaches. The challenge of water pollution was also attributed to human activities around the beaches.

Water pollution was a major challenge in the 19th century, but the government has positively reacted against water pollution by setting plans that prevent water contamination in the 20th and 21st century. Some of the set strategies in fighting against water pollution in Sydney are; implementation of storm water system, the system prevents the occurrence of floods in the urban areas. The systems are also designed to direct stormwater to large creeks which direct the water to flow to the beach (Whitelock, 1971). There has been the installation of overflow points for sewage pipes. Unlike in the 19th century when the sewage overflow polluted water introducing overflow points such that excess flow of the sewage is diverted back to the storm water when the system is under high pressure that occurs during storms.

The outbreak of black plague in Sydney, the disease outbreak was reported in Australia in 1900 (Australia, Australia &Victoria, 1997). The epidemic resulted in the death of many people in Sydney. The disease was introduced to Sydney through the trade routes. The plague was believed to be contagious. Since the area was highly populated, many people had to suffer from the plague. The state introduced strategic plans by imposing a quarantine to prevent strangers to Australia. The disease was also known that it could also be passed from one person to the other through insect bites. Mostly, the disease was passed from one person to another by fleas from an infected rat. It became difficult to control them in the region; this simply was because of the high population in the area. The rats also spread quickly during the warm seasons. The slum condition around the harbor provided a favorable vermin breeding zone. The state had to develop a new strategy to fight against the vermin (Whitington, 1970). It employed rat-catchers to kill the rats and incinerate them and earn much money through that task. Those who died of the plague had to be interred with quick lime for them to rot decompose quickly.

The plague was also associated with the geographical rocks around Sydney led to the renewal of the waterfront precincts which included the Miller points and the rocks nearing a shanty town that resulted from unregulated buildings. The residents in these areas were offered the following chemicals: carbolic acid, lime, and also sulfuric acid; to use them to either disinfect, cleanse or even to burn their houses to kill the vermin since it was hard to fight against them. The government took a new initiative to fight against the plague by demolishing the slum houses, some businesses and also to possess these slum lands entirely. These lands that the government took into possession today are the prime real estates like Martin place. The government officially took the slum lands, and no one had a right to rebuild a house in this region. The rocks that were attempted to be destroyed today acts as tourists attraction zone.


When it comes to efficiency and sustainability performance in the Australian world cities are doing well than other cities in the world. This is because the major cities in Australia have well-developed infrastructures, there is a balance in work-life, there is evident income inequality, and there is high literacy level. The environments also have been well conserved. This is evident through the high usage of renewable energy, there is a potable water quality, there is a low level of greenhouse gasses emission, and water recycling has also been positively endowed. In the economic sector, the policies set in Australia allows the business to be conducted efficiently; there is also a high GDP per capita, the living cost is favorable to the citizens and also the presence of a well-developed transport network.

The challenges that Australia went through in the 19th century impacted to the high rate of development evident today. The difficulty in fighting against the vermin which was the vectors of the plagues helped in the implementation of the suburbs plan (Lipman & Bates, 2002). The slums were demolished, and many inhabitants occupied other regions where they positively steered developments. The eradication of the slums in Melbourne and also Sydney positively constituted to the expansion of the cities. Since the 19th century to date, Australia has shown a positive transformation that can be emulated by other developing continents.


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