A tale of two cities

  • 27/02/2002

The water culture of people is an important indicator of their level of civilization. Take the two ancient cities, Rome and the town of Edo, which grew into the mega-metropolis of Tokyo. The people of Rome brought their drinking water with the help of long aqueducts, which today are regarded as architectural marvels of the bygone Roman civilisation. But the people of Rome lived on the banks of the river Tiber. They didn't need to bring water from afar. Unfortunately, they did not know to dispose of their human wastes and like the modern Western civilisation they ended up polluting the river, thus being forced to go far in search of clean water. This makes Roman aqueducts not a symbol of intelligence but one of great environmental stupidity.

On the other hand, Edo, which too was situated on several streams, ensured that all its human wastes were collected and returned to the farmlands. Its neighbouring rivers remained clean and it tapped its water from them through an extensive piped water supply.

But today we are all children of Rome and not Edo. We have turned our backs to our waterbodies and if we don't have money to clean our mess, then we will have nothing but polluted waters.

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