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Public cleaning news roundup

Posted on: Friday, February 5th, 2016

Irish rail has spent thousands of pounds cleaning graffiti from the nation's trains, it has been revealed.

The latest figures from the company showed that some €350,000 (£265,000) was spent on removing graffiti from trains in 2015.

It recorded 72 instances of graffiti in the Dublin suburban region in 2015, compared to 57 in 2014. 

There has also been an increase in the number of vandalism cases, with incidents rising from 35 in 2014 to 79 last year.

In a speech made to city councillors in Dublin, assistant station manager at Connolly Station Gavin Collins said there seems to be "a romantic notion that graffiti is a bit of art, a bit of Banksy. It's not. It's a blight on our community." 

Public health

There is the perception that back in the Roman times, people took more pride in the cleanliness of their cities and towns.

This apparently, is not the case. Indeed, a study published by Dr Piers Mitchell from Cambridge University’s Archaeology and Anthropology Department and published in the journal Parasitology revealed that baths, toilets and indoor plumbing were not cleaner than civilisations that came before it.

As part of the study, analysts looked at archeological records, examining coprolites (fossilised poop), combs and other hygiene artifacts for traces of parasites, evidence of dysentery and lice.

After Romans entered the public areas, the number of parasites grew rather than fell.

Dr Mitchell said: “This latest research on the prevalence of ancient parasites suggests that Roman toilets, sewers and sanitation laws had no clear benefit to public health. The widespread nature of both intestinal parasites and ectoparasites such as lice also suggests that Roman public baths surprisingly gave no clear health benefit either. Not only did their baths and toilets encourage disease instead of curing it but their favorite condiment, a fish sauce called garum, probably helped spread parasites as well.”

The study revealed that fish tapeworm was noted to be widely present, and was more common than in Bronze and Iron Age Europe.

“The manufacture of fish sauce and its trade across the empire in sealed jars would have allowed the spread of the fish tapeworm parasite from endemic areas of northern Europe to all people across the empire. This appears to be a good example of the negative health consequences of conquering an empire,” according to Mr Mitchell.

In conclusion, he added: “It seems likely that while Roman sanitation may not have made people any healthier, they would probably have smelt better.”

Toilet cleaner

A new self-cleaning toilet was put on display at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The way it works is it cleans the user with an aerated wand, which delivers warm water and warm air "from a seated position".

It uses a combination of a disinfectant and a glaze – made out of zirconium and titanium dioxide – which coats the bowl during the cleaning process.